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The AntiquitieB of Donegal^its Castles and Buined Abbeys — 

its Stone Grosses and its Bound Towers, .... 3 

History of the Holy Wells, 6 

The Holy Wells of Scripture— The Well of Bethsaida, . .11 
Tourist's Boute to the Donegal Highlands, . . .18 

The Emigrant's Farewell to Ballyshannon, .... 22 

KilbaiTon Castle, 27 

Notes on the Mac Swynes of Donegal, 29 

The Mac Swynes of Banagh, 30 

Deatji of Niall Mor, ib. 

The Old Buined Church at Ballysaggart, .... 35 

Description of the Tomb of Niall Mor, ib. 

Franciscan Churches and Monasteries in Donegal, ... 38 
The celebrated Franciscan Monastery in Donegal, . .39 

History of the Battle of Derrylahin, 43 

The Mac Swynes of Doe, 46 

The Mac Swynes of Fanad, 46 

Capture of Hugh Boe, 49 

Killybegs, the Ancient Town of the Mac Swynes of Banagh, . 60 
The Ancient Island of Torry, blessed by the Labours of St. 
Columba, with its Beligious Buildings ; and its Old Castle 

since the Days of the Fomorians, 

^^fk Antiquities of Torry, ........ 

^ Balor's Castle, 

IW Striking View, from the Island, 

QfJ) Departure from Torry, 74 







The Abbey of Eas-Roe, near Ballyshannoiiy . . . .76 

The Castle of Ballyshannon, 77 

Account of the Battle, ib. 

Battle at Beallachbudhe, on the Borders of Roscommon and 
Sligo, between the Armies of the Mac Dermott and 

O'Donnell, 78 

The Cathach of St. Columbkille, 79 

Great Battle at Ballyshannon, in 1597, between Sir Gonyers 
Clifford and his Forces, and Red Hugh 0*Donnell — Gral- 
lant Defence of the Castle, and Heroic Brayery of the 
Inhabitants — Death of the Baron of Inchiquin in the act 

of crossing the River, 80 

Donegal, 86 

Donegal Castle, 87 

Lough Derg, 89 

Killybegs and the Scenery of the "Wilds — Excursion to Glen- 
cohnkille— The New Hotel at Carrick— The Beautiful 
Cli£&, and the Old Stone Crosses of the Glen — Grand 

Mountain Pass of the Glengeish, 97 

Eilcar, 101 

Carrick, . . . ib. 

Sliabh-Liag, 104 

View from Sliabh-Iiag, 105 

The One Man's Path, ib. 

Thunder Storm on Sliabh-Liag, 106 

Bunglass, 107 

Malinbeg, ib. 

Glen Head, . • .110 

The Sturrell, Ill 

The Old Stone Crosses in the Glen, 112 

Grand Mountain Pass of the Glengeish, 114 

Table of Distances from Eillybegs to the Wilds, . . .116 

Cyclopean Remains at Cashelcummin, near Killybegs, . ib. 

Giant's Grave, near Killybegs, 119 

Rocking Stone, near Killybegs, .' . . . .121 

Beautiful Drive from Killybegs to St. John's Point and the 

Lighthouse, ^. 122 






MONG the ancient memorials and his- 
toric remains in Ireland of the long 
forgotten past, it must be admitted 
that there is a deeply interesting 
mine for the antiquary, which hi- 
therto has been but very imper- 
fectly explored and investigated. 
It happens however as the archeo- 
logical taste has become more fully 
developed, that now and then some 
of the finest of our historic monuments are dug up 
from their hiding places where they had remained in 
obscurity for ages. And this is especially the case as 
regards the beautiful Celtic Tomb of the famed war- 
rior and chieftan, Niall Mor, of which it may be said 
"the cold chain of silence had hung o'er it long," but 
which is now so carefully preserved in the Church 
of Killybegs. 


The fine historic land of old Tirconnell is filled 
with interesting memorials of other days, and studded 
over with old ruined abbeys, and churches, and 
castles, which, in the days gone by, filled up some 
bright pages in the *' Annals of Ireland." And what 
a solemn interest attaches to those fine old ruins, 
which cover the land with their mournful but magni- 
ficent desolation, and which at once remind us of the 
glories and sufferings of our Church. These fine 
old abbeys, now a desecrated ruin, once resounded 
with the praises of the Most High, and from their 
quiet sanctuaries went forth apostolic preachers to 
enlighten barbarous kingdoms, which now rank high 
in the scale of nations, giving Bishops to the Church, 
Doctors to the Universities, and Martyr^ and Con- 
fessors to Heaven. Need I more than allude to the 
fine old historic Abbey of Donegal, immortalized by 
its work of the "Annals of the Four Masters," which 
forms the largest collection of national, civil, mili- 
tary, and family history, ever brought together in 
this, or, perhaps, in any other country, dating from 
the Deluge to A. D. 1616. I cannot pass over in 
my enumeration the old Cistercian Abbey at Bally- 
shannon, of Asheroe (Eas aedh Euaidh), the Cataract 
of Ked Hugh, founded in 1178, by Roderick O'Can- 
nanan, Prince of Tirconnell : — 

The bore tree and the lightsome ash across the portal grow. 
And heaven itself is now the roof of the Abbey Asheroe ; 

and the ruined Abbeys of Eillyodonnell, Fahan, and 
Eathmullen, where 


^^ The thinking sculpture helps to raise deep thoughts 
To the mind's ear, and inward sight ; 
Their silence speaks, and shade gives light." 

*^ Who sees these ruins, but will demand 
What barbarous invader sacked the land : 
And when he hears no Goth nor Turk did bring 
The desolation, but a Christian King ; 
While nothing but the name of Zeal appears 
'Twixt our best actions and the worst of theirs, 
What must he think, our sacrilege would spare, 
When such the effects of our devotion are ?" 

Add to these the dismantled and crumbling castles 
of the Mac Swynes, the O'Donnells, the O'Clerys, and 
the O'Doghertys. 

And should we not all feel an interest in the pre- 
servation of these fine old historic landmarks, and 
cherish with fond afi'ection the memory of the chief- 
tains who owned them ; for — 

*^ Thus shall memory in dreams sublime 

Catch a glimpse of the days that are over, 
Thus sighing look through the waves of time 
For the long faded glories they cover.** 

Besides those fine old ruined abbeys and castles 
we find in Donegal some of the most interesting 
monuments of the days of old ; for instance, the 
palace of the Northern Hy Niall ; the historic Grian- 
nen of Aileach ; the remains of the seven churches 
and round towers on Torry Island; the pillar 
stones and Druidical remains at Baphoe and Cul- 


daflf ; the numerous cromleachs ; the fine old stone 
crosses, since the days of St. Patrick and St. Columb- 
kill; and the holy wells, which are to be found in 
almost every parish, dedicated to some favourite 


" They have left the cot for the holy well, 
Near the cross in the valley flowing ; 
Its bright blue tide hath a seraph's spell, 
Light and joy to the blind bestowing." 

The distinguished antiquarian, Sir William Wilde, 
who has done so much to make archaeology a de- 
lightful and interesting study, has expressed a wish 
that the history of the Holy Wells of Ireland were 
written ; and, in his work on the Boyne and Black- 
water, makes the following beautiful address to them : 

" Thou chosen spring of sacred gift, 

By prayer and penance blest, 
Here on thy knee-worn margin 

My wanderings find a rest. 
I could not pass thee heedlessly. 

Or deem with scoffing thought 
That God hath through thy hallowed drops 

No healing wonder wrought. 

*' With solemn pause I gaze upon 
Thy surface calm and pure, 
Recalling days when simple souls 
In faith found simplest cure. 


Who knows thou art unsanctified, 

And hast no salving power? 
Let me at least revere thee now 

In thy departed hour." 

On the western shore of the beautiful Bay of Killy- 
begs there is a holy well dedicated to St. Catherine 
the Martyr, much frequented by the pious pilgrims, 
who, on its knee-worn margin, offer up many a 
fervent prayer to heaven. There is another of these 
holy wells at an ancient place called the Relic^ not 
far from the Killaghtee Chapel, near which is an 
old mutilated cross, going back to the days of St. 
Conall. St. Conall was Abbot of the Monastery of 
Inniskeel. His feast is observed on the 22nd of 
May ; and the church and holy wells dedicated to 
him are much frequented by pilgrims. (See " Mar- 
tyrology of Donegal," and " Colgan MSS.") There 
are other holy wells in different parts of the county ; 
among them the celebrated Doon Well, near Kil- 
macrenan, and immediately below the rock, on 
which the O'Donnells were inaugurated; the Abbey 
Well of Ballyshannon ; Malin Well, in Ennishowen ; 
many of them traditionally said to be blessed by St. 

" Oh thou pretty holy well, 
Wreathed about with roses, 
Where, beguiled with soothing spell, 
Weary foot reposes. 


*^ Clear as childhood in thy looks, 
Nature seems to pet thee ; 
Fierce July, that drains the brooks, 
Hath no power to fret thee." 

May I now be permitted to give a short history of 
those holy and sequestered spots so long consecrated 
by the exercise of holy prayer and penance? At 
an early period in the history of Ireland, before the 
arrival of St. Patrick, who was then commissioned by 
Pope Celestine as the Apostle of Ireland, we find the 
people worshipping the sun, and the moon, the fire, 
the water, and the oak, and transferring to these in- 
animate symbols of the Deity the worship that was 
due to the living God.* And how did St. Patrick and 
the early missionaries overturn this hideous fabric of 
superstition, and bring over the ancient Druid to the 
Christian faith ? 

History records that it was accomplished by the 
same wise policy, which Christianity did not disdain 
to win its way with in more polished nations, by 
making the outward form the vehicle through which 
to convey the vital truths of the Christian religion. 

Hence we find days that were devoted to Pagan 
festivals, now transferred to the Christian cause. The 
feast of Samhim, which had been held annually at the 
vernal equinox, was found to correspond with the 
great festival of Easter ; and the fires lighted to wel- 
come the summer solstice were continued afterwards, 
even to the present time, in honour of the eve of the 
feast of St. John the Baptist. And thus we find at 


every step the way smoothed down for the Introduc- 
tion of the faith. The pillar stone of the Druid and 
the cromleach were marked with the Christian sym- 
bol of the cross ; in the same way the oak and the 
sacred grove were converted to Christian uses by the 
erection of the monastery and the church ; and the 
welly at which their fathers worshipped, was made the 
baptismal font where the convert received the sacred 
rite of baptism. The name of the ancient monastery, 
Doire Calcaich^ from which the Maiden City derives the 
name of Derry, still recalls the memory of the hill of 
oaks on which the monastery was built by St. Columb- 
cille. The name of Kildare also reminds us of the Cell 
of the Oaks on which the Church of St. Bridgid was 
afterwards erected. We find also in a record, going 
back to A. D. 448, that Alphin Mac Eochaid, King 
of Dublin, and his subjects, were baptised in St. 
Patrick's Well, now shown to visitors in St. Patrick's 
Cathedral in that city. 

We find the same policy recommended by Pope 
Gregory to St. Augustine, in the conversion of Eng- 
land (Bede's Eccl. Hist.), where he suggests that the 
temples of idols in that nation should not be destroyed. 
** Let the idols that are in them be destroyed, and let 
holy water be made and sprinkled on the said tem- 
ples, and altars erected ; for if these temples are well 
built, it is requisite that they be converted from the 
worship of devils to the service of the true God ; that 
the nation, not seeing those temples destroyed, may 
renounce error from their hearts, and knowing and 


adoring the true God, may more willingly resort to 
the same places they were accustomed to (Hume " On 
the Policy of the First Missionaries"). 

Let us now see what was the result of this policy. 
We are told by our countryman, Thomas Moore, in 
his ** History of Ireland," th^t, whilst in other countries 
the introduction of Christianity was the slow work of 
time, and had been resisted by either the Govern- 
ment or the people, and seldom^ effected without a 
lavish effusion of blood, in Ireland, on the contrary, 
by the labours of St. Patrick, and with but very little 
preparation of the soil by other hands, Christianity 
burst forth at the first ray of apostolic light, and 
with the sudden ripeness of a northern summer 
covered the whole island. Kings and princes, when 
not themselves among the ranks of the converts, saw 
their sons and daughters join the train without a 
murmur; chieftains at variance in all else, agreed 
in meeting beneath the Christian banner, and the 
proud Druid and bard laid their superstitions at the 
foot of the cross." 

Who, then, familiar with these details of history, 
will refuse the tribute of his respect to these holy 
wells, which have been diverted from a debasing su- 
perstition to places of resort for the pilgrim, where, 
apart from the bustle of life, he tells his beads and 
communes with his God in prayer ? And where, let 
me ask, can a more appropriate place be found for 
the exercise of this holy duty than around the clear 
and gentle spring, gushing forth in all its purity, as 


it were, from the hands of 'God, and its bright and 
crystal waters the reflected image of the purity 
which should be found in all our actions ? Hence it 
is that we find those holy wells amidst some wild glen, 
surrounded by stern and savage rocks, in the seques- 
tered valley, or the secluded seashore, such as St. 
Catherine's Well, where the beauty and tranquillity 
of the scene teach us to look from Nature to Nature's 

Mr. Frazer, in his " Ballad Poetry of Ireland," sup- 
plies us with the following beautiful passage : — 

" The holy wells, the holy wells, the cool, the fresh, the pure, 
A thousand years has rolled away, and still these founts endure 
And while their stainless chastity, and lasting life has birth 
Amid the cozy cells and caves of gross material earth, 
The scripture of creation holds no fairer type than they ; 
The city sent pale sufferers there the faded brow to dip. 
And woo the water to depose some bloom upon the lip. 
The wounded warrior dragged him towards the unforgotten 

And deemeth draught a heavenlier gift than triumphs at his 



We have a remarkable instance of a holy well in 
the sacred writings, the Pool of Bethsaida (5th chap. 
John). "Now, there is at Jerusalem a pond called 
Probatica, which, in Hebrew, is named Bethsaida, 
having five porches. In these lay a great multitude 
of blind and lame, of withered, waiting for the moving 


of the water. And an angel of the Lord descended 
at certain tiroes into the pond, and the water -was 
moved ; and he that went down first into the pond 
aflter the motion of the water, was made whole of 
whatever infirmity he lay under." 

There is another passage, in the ninth chapter of 
the same Evangelist, where a blind man was sent by 
Christ himself to the Pool of Siloe to wash himself. 
" He went therefore, he washed and he came seeing." 

Before bringing to a close this very imperfect notice 
of the holy wells, I cannot forego the pleasure of in- 
troducing another poetical tribute on this subject, 
from the graceful pen of Mrs. Kevin Izod O'Dough- 

** Oh lonely silent crystal well. 

Thy stilly waters gleam 
From out the shaded emerald dell, 

As in a tranquil dream. 
No voice to break the solitude, • 

But low winds' wailing tune, 
As through the night above thee brood 

The wild bird and the moon. 


^^'ithin thy charmed silver ring 

What precious memories sleep : 
The faith and hope that fondly cling, 

The love and sorrow deep. 
Sad smiles, that tell the sad hearths tale. 

Sweet tears that softly fall, 
Like winter sun and summer rain, 

Thou hast them treasured all. 




EN I - 


** The gnarled oak tree droops aboye, 

As pilgrims watch and pray, 
With rifted arms of reverent love, 

Through ages dim and gray. 
Upon its seamed and gristly bark 

Lov'd names have once been traced. 
But now the eye can scarcely mark 

Those records half effaced. 

^^ The moss and lichen idly creep, 

The ivy tendrils twine ; 
Of characters, once fresh and deep, 

New growth scarce leaves a line. 
Ah thus it is with loved ones' names, 

Once writ upon the heart, 
When time brings forth new hopes and aims. 

And bids the past depart." 

Some few years ago a friend of ours, a very talented 
and enterprising 3roung architect, Mr. E. W. Godwin, 
whilst engaged in the building of St. Baithin's church, 
at St. Johnston, and the churches in Torry Island 
and Newtowncunningham, was also actively employed 
in collecting materials for a work on the Antiquities 
of Donegal, comprising the history of the ruined 
abbeys and churches, its castles and its round towers, 
pillar stones, Druidical circles, cromleachs, its stone 
crosses, and its holy wells. The work was all but in 
the hands of the printer with some fifty illustrations. 

Mr. Godwin soon afterwards removed to the busy 
metropolis of London, to ^^ fresh fields and pastures 
new," and, I presume, from his many various avocations, 


did not proceed with its publication. He has since 
taken a great interest in the Antiquities of England, 
and has become a Fellow of the Society of Anti- 
quaries, and has oftentimes taken a prominent part in 
their seances, from which it is hoped he may yet be 
induced to proceed with the publication of his work. 

■^rhe topography of the county, with much of its 
history and its legendary lore, has been done ample 
justice to in *' The Donegal Highlands," a work which 
has introduced quite a host of tourists to our beautiful 
scenery. May we express a hope that its accomplished 
author will favour us with another work which is so 
much desired, **The Ecclesiastical Annals and History 
of the Diocese of Raphoe and the Ancient See of St. 
Eunan ?" Formerly the diocese of Raphoe was co- 
extensive with the boundaries of the county, taking 
in the peninsula of Ennishowen ; but in ii 66 the 
Rt. Rev. Gervaise O'Cherbaillow, the Bishop of Derry, 
whether from the rapacity of the churchman or that 
he thought his own diocese not suiEcently large 
for his zeal, possessed himself of part of the see 
of Clogher, the Bishop of which was paralytic at the 
time. He next stripped Raphoe in the same manner, 
which augmentation remains to the present day. 

This sefeming bold usurpation was not lost sight of, 
for we find the Rt. Rev. Dr. Ccyle, Bishop of Raphoe, 
protesting against the spiritual right of the Bishop of 
Derry to the barony of Ennishowen ; and we are not 
sure but even yet his Lordship of Clogher, the Most 
Bev. Dr. Donelly, and some future Bishop of Raphoe, 





may bring up the question. (No proscription against 
the Church,) 

Among others who have done good service by 
their graphic delineations of our beautiful mountains 
and valleys, I may mention the author of the ** Cliff 
Scenery of South Western Donegal," and the writer 
of " Ennishowen," once enobled by the genius of 
the late lamented Maginn, which classic region has 
found such an able expositor in Mac Tocher. 

Since sending off my Notes on the famous Clan of 
the Mac Swynes, to the publisher I have been favoured 
with a copy of a rare work, ** Edmond Spenser's View 
of the State of Ireland in 1596," from a kind friend of 
mine in this neighbourhood, Mrs. Barrett ofBruckless 
House, a lady to whom the archasology of this district 
is much indebted for the interest she has taken in the 
discovery and preservation of the ancient memorials 
of former days, and, from her knowledge of the Celtic 
tongue and ancient records, the ability with which she 
so well developes their historical importance. 

Being a lineal descendant of the O'Connors, for- 
merly the princes of the country, she clings at all 
times with fond affection to the memories and noble 
deeds of Ireland's ancient chieftains. From this work 
I am enabled to take the following interesting ex- 
tract : — 

" The Irish themselves report that the Mac Mahons 
in the North, were anciently English, to wit, de- 
scended from the Fitz-Ursulas, which was a noble 
family in England; likewise, that the Mac Swynes, now 


in Ulster, were ancientlj of the Veres in England, 
but that they themselves for hatred of English so dis- 
guised their names. But proud hearts doe oftentimes, 
like wanton colts, kicke at their mothers, as we read 
Alcibiades and Thenustocles did, who, being banished 
out of Athens, fled unto the kings of Asia, and there 
stirred them up to warre against their country, in 
which warres themselves were chieftains. 

'^So they say did these Mac Swynes andMacMahons 
for private despite tume themselves against England. 
For at such times as Eobert Vere Earl of Oxford was 
in the barons* warres against King Eichard the Second 
through the malice of the Peeres banished the realm 
and proscribed, he with his kinsman Fitz-Ursula 
fled into Ireland, where being prosecuted, and after- 
wards in England put to death, his kinsman there 
remaining behinde in Ireland, rebelled, and conspiring 
with the Irish, did quite cast ofi* both their English name 
and allegiance, since which time they have Remained 
so stiU and have since been counted mere Irish. 

" The very like is also reported of the Mac Swynes, 
Mac Mahons, and the Mac Sheehys of Munster, how 
they likewise were English, and old followers to the 
Earl of Desmond, untill the reigne of King Edward 
IV., at which time the Earle of Desmond, that then 
was called Thomas, being, through false subornation 
(as they say) of the Queene, for some offence by her 
against him conceived, brought to his death at Tre- 
dagh most unjustly, notwithstanding that he was a 
very good and souixd subject to the King. There- 


upon, all the kinsmen of the Geraldines, which then 
was a mighty family in Munster, in revenge of that 
huge wrong, rose into armes against the King, and 
utterly renounced and forsooke all allegiance to the 
Crowne of England, to whom the said Mac Swynes, 
being followers, did the like, and have ever since 
so continued. And with them, they say, all the people 
of Munster went out, and many others of them, which 
were meere English, thenceforth joined with the 
Irish, against the King, and termed themselves very 
Irish, taking on them Irish habits and customes, 
which could never since be cleane wyped away, but 
the contagion hath remained still amongst their pos- 

Sir James Ware holds the opinion, that the families 
of the Mac Machons and the Mac Swynes belong to 
the ancient Irish. • And the learned Celtic scholar, 
O'Donovan, says that the statement of Spenser, with 
regard to the Mac Mahons, the Mac Swynes, and the 
Mac Sheehys, being of English descent, is without 
foundation, and nothing more than a mere invention 
of the creative fancy of that great poet and politician. 
He also tells us that the ancestors of the Mac Swynes 
and the Mac Sheehys of Munster removed to Scot- 
land in the tenth century, or the beginning of the 
eleventh, and some of their descendants returned to 
Ireland in the beginning of the fourteenth century 
and were hereditary leaders of the gallowglasses to 
many of the Irish chieftains. 

• B 

1 8 tourist's route to the 

Dr. GeoflFrey Keating, and others, also disprove th« 
statement made by Spenser. ■ 

The earliest notices of the Mac Swynes that I have 
been able to discover in the "Annals of the Four 
Masters" are in the fourteenth century. In 135 1, 
Owen na Hag oiche Mac Swyne, in Donegal, was slain 
by Manus O'Donnell; and in 1352, in a 'war with 
O'Korke, a slaughter of the gallowglasses of the 
Mac Swynes took place. 

D' Alton, in his King James's Army List, mentions 
a distinguished military leader of this name in 1424- 
I may here observe, that Ware states, with regard 
to the Franciscan Church at Ballysaggart, St. John's 
Point, that it^ was founded by Mac Swyne, and calls 
it Ballymacswyne of the Conventual Franciscans. 


From Dublin, the tourist takes a ticket at the 
Amiens-street station of the Irish North- Western 
Railway for Ballyshahnon, the frontier town of 
Donegal, by which he will be enabled en route to 
obtain some magnificent views of Lough Erne, with 
its wooded shores and islands, and the rapids and 
porcelain factory at Belleek. From Ballyshannon a 
"well-appointed van will bring him to Donegal, at 
which town he will be taken in charge by M*Ginty 
on a similar conveyance, who will bring him in 
dashing style to Killybegs. From Killybegs a mail 
car leaves for Carrick, besides which, at the respec- 
tive hotels, there is always to be had a good supply 


of post-horses and intelligent drivers, when a respect- 
able turn-out can be obtained at a short notice for 
the Wilds. The tourist, after arriving at the pretty 
hotel at Carrick, can survey at his leisure the moun- 
tains and cliff scenery by which he will be sur- 
rounded. After climbing up the heights of Sliabh- 
liag (2000 feet), and enjoying the majestic prospect 
that will open on his view, he will proceed into the 
Shan GUn^ by way of Malinmore and Malinbeg, 
where he can survey and inspect the ancient me- 
morials in connexion with St. ColumbciUe, and the 
mountain cliffs of Glen Head and Slieveatoey. In 
the glen he will be. taken good care of at Mr. 
Walker's of Malinmore, and Mr. Buchanan's. He 
will afterwards continue his route by the magnificent 
Pass of the Glengesh, which, in natural grandeur and 
boldness, is said not to be surpassed by the Alpine 
passes in the Tyrol. He will then proceed by Ardara, 
and Glenties, and Duharry Bridge to Dungloe, and 
the Gweedore, where he will be glad to rest for awhile 
at that very comfortable hostelry, the Gweedore 
Hotel (Lord George Hill's), where he will be sur- 
rounded by mountain scenery of the 'sublimest cha- 
racter. From Gweedore he proceeds by Dunlewy, 
along the base of Arrigle (2500 feet), by Dunfanaghy 
Derry veagh, Glenveagh, and Kilmacrennan to Letter- 
kenny. From Letterkenny he proceeds either by 
the fertile valley of the Lagan, through Newtown Cun- 
ningham to Derry, or by the western shores of Lough 
Swilly, by Bamelton and RathmuUen, crossing over 

B 2 


the ferry to Fahan, where he meets the rail for Derry . 
From the Maiden City he can make a detour at his 
leisure through the far-famed Ennishowen. 

Writing about Donegal some years ago, in the 
pages of ** Once a Week,'* Miss Fanny Cobbe thus 
disports herself: "If it should happen to a parent to 
have a son troubled with a strong desire to emigrate 
to Upper Canada or New Zealand, we should recom- 
mendy as the best possible remedy, that the youth 
should be induced to make a short and easy trial of 
how he really likes solitude by spending six months 
or so in the County Donegal. If he pass through 
that ordeal, and returns to London, still talking of 
the delights of living out of the world, then let him 
go by all means to the Antipodes, or the society of 
those sweet creatures which brave Sir S. Baker met 
about Gondokora. He has certainly a call from St. 
Anthony. Donegal is a vast shire, some forty miles 
long, at the N. W. angle of that island of whose 
history and geography you know less than of those of 
Kamtschatka. Donegal is large, and Donegal is beau- 
tiful, in a certain wild, desolate style. There is a 
magnificent rock-bound coast to the north, and a 
bay like the Bristol Channel, swarming with fish, to 
the south, and plenty of mountains and salmon rivers, 
and a few woods here and there ; altogether, a county 
which, if in England, people would walk over and 
would talk on perpetually. Notwithstanding its 
solitude, yet Donegal has its charms. Very de- 
lightful it was in spring to ramble through the pine- 


wood, with the ground so blue with bluebells as to 
look like bits of sky fallen through the trees ; very 
soothing was it to lie beside the river in summer, 
among the heather and flowering fern and sweet 
orchids, and listen to the roar of the waterfall, ard 
watch the golden salmon leaping up the rocks ; very 
sweet was it, late in the long midsummer twilight 
night, to wander on through the valley after the sun 
had gone down behind the purple Siebengeberge^ and 
when every herb and flower, broom and gorse, and 
pine tree and honeysuckle exhaled their perfumes 
as flowers only breathe in the soft, rich, Irish atmo- 
sphere; these were pleasant things. Then there 
were sports for such as loved them — that large portion 
of English humanity which never thoroughly enjoys 
nature unless it have a chance to strike out a few of 
its living beauties, to entrap one or two of its golden 
salmon darting among the deep dark pools, to stretch 
lifeless the playful brown hare leaping among the 
grass, to fill the boat with shuddering, gasping crea- 
tures dragged by the net from the depths of the sea — 
there were abundance of all these spots in Donegal. 
But, a truce to all this word painting." 

I shall close this notice on Donegal by the inser- 
tion of a sweet ballad, so full of feeling, connected as 
it is with the history of its frontier and principal 
town, Ballyshannon. It is entitled *' The Emigrant's 
Adieu to Ballyshannon," and is from the pen of one 
of its most respected sons, " Willie Allingham," who 
is now residing in England, and who largely per- 

22 emigrant's farewell 

sonifies in himself all the ballad's attractive features. 
May we indulge the hope that he will again return 
to his native town, build a villa at the BuUybawns, 
looking over on the ancient little island of Innis- 
saimar, on the sand hills of Finner, and entrenched 
by the deep blue range of the Leitrim mountains and 


Adieu to Ballyshannon, where I was bred and bom ; 

Go where I may, I'll think of yon, as sure as night and mom. 

The kindly spot, the friendly town, where every one is known, 

And not a face in all the place but partly seems my own. 

There's not a house or window, there's not a field or hill, 

But East or West, in foreign lands, I'll recollect thee still ; 

I leave my warm heart with you, though my back I'm forced to 

turn — 
So, adieu to Ballyshannon and the winding banks of Eme. 

No more on pleasant evenings we'll saunter down the Mall, 
When the trout is rising to the fly, the salmon to the fall ; 
The boat comes straining on her net, and heavily she creeps, 
Cast off! cast off! she feels the oars, and to her berth she 

Now stem and stem keep bawling, and gathering up the clue. 
Till a silver wave of salmon rolls in among the crew ; 
Then they may sit and have their joke, and set their pipes to 

Adieu to Ballyshannon and the winding banks of Eme. 

The music of the waterfall, the mirror of the tide. 
When all the green hill'd harbour is full from side to side ; 
From Fortnason to Ballybawns, and round the Abbey Bay , 
From the little rocky island to Coolnargit's sandhills gray 


While far upon the southern line, to guard it like a wall, 
The Leitrim mountains clothed in blue gaze calmly over all ; 
And watch the ship sail up and down, the red flag at her stem ; 
Adieu to those, adieu to all, the winding banks of Erne. 

Farewell to you, Eildoney lads, and them that pull the oar ; 
A lug sail set, or haul a net, from the Point to Mullaghmore ; 
From Killybegs to Carrigan, with its ocean mountain steep, 
Six hundred yards in air alofl, six hundred in the deep ; 
From Dooran to the Fairy Bridge, and round by Tullan strand, 
Level and long, and white with waves, where gull and curlew 

stand ; 
Head out to sea, when on the lea the breakers you discern, 
Adieu to all the billowy coast and winding banks of Erne. 

Farewell to you, Bundoran, and the summer crowds thali run 
From inland homes to see with joy the Atlantic's setting sun ; 
To breathe the buoyant, salted air, and sport among the waves, 
To gather shells on sandy beach, and tempt the gloomy caves ; 
To watch the flowing, ebbing tide — the boats, the crabs, the fish ; 
Young men and maids to meet and smile, and form a tender 

" wish ; 
The sick and old in search of health — for all things have their 

And I must quit my native shore and the winding banks of 


Farewell to every white cascade, from the harbour to Belleek, 
And every pool, where fins may rest, and ivy-shaded creek ; 
The sloping fields, the lofty rocks, where ash and holly grow ; 
The one split yew tree gazing on the curving flood below ; 
The lough that winds through islands, under Skean Mountain 

green ; 
The Castle Caldwell's stretching woods, with tranquil bays 

between ; 

24 emigrant's fabewell 

And Breesie Hill, and many a pond, among the heath and fern. 
For [ must say adieu, adieu, to the winding banks of £me. 

The thrush will call through Camlin grove the livelong summer 

The waters run by mossy cliff, and bank with wild flowers gay ; 
The girls will bring their work, and sing beneath the twisted 

Or stray with sweethearts down the path among the growing 

Along the river side they go, where I had often been ; 
Oh I never shall I see again the days I once have seen ; 
A thousand chances are to one I never may return ; 
Adieu to Ballyshannon, and the winding banks of Erne. 

Now measure from the Commons down to each end of the Furt, 
From the Red Earn to the Abbey, I wish no one any hurt ; 
Search through the streets, and down the Mall, and out to 

If any foes of mine are there, I pardon every one. 
I hope that man and womankind will do the same with me, 
For my head is sore and heavy at voyaging the sea. 
My loving friends, I'll bear in mind, and often fondly turn. 
To think of Ballyshannon and the winding banks of Erne. 

Adieu to evening dances, where merry neighbours meet, 

And the fiddle says to boys and girls, Get up and shdke your 

feet ; 
To shanachus and wise old talk of Erin's days gone by, 
Who trenched the rath on such a hill, and where the bones 

do lie 
Of saint, or king, or warrior chief, with tales of fairy power, 
And tender ditties sweetly sung to pass the twilight hour. 
The mournful song of exile is now for me to learn ; 
Adieu, my dear companions, on the winding banks of Erne. 


If ever I'm a money'd man, I mean, please God, to cast 

My golden anchor in the place where youthful years were passed. 

Though heads that now are black or brown must meanwhile 

gather gray ; 
New faces rise by every hearth, and old ones pass away, 
Yet dearer still that Irish hill than all the world beside-^ 
It's home, sweet home, whereV I roam through lands and 

waters wide. 
And if the Lord allows me, I surely will return 
To my native Ballyshannon, and the winding banks of Erne. 

Bally shannon has all the advantages of a fine site on 
the banks of the Kiver Erne, the outlet of the great 
lake of that name, which in superficial extent is 
only second to Lough Neagh ; but which is far supe- 
rior to it in scenic attractions and beauty. It is the 
chief town of the County Donegal, comprising a 
population of 3 1 97 . It was incorporated by a charter 
of James I. (161 3), and had the honor of returning 
two members to the Irish Parliament. It is said to 
derive its name from Bell ath seanaiffh, the mouth 
or opening of an old ford. This ford was a' little 
below the present eel weir. At the picturesque and 
beautiful village of Belleek, the Erne descends the 
first step of that grand staircase by which it reaches 
the sea ; sometimes flying sometimes lingering down 
the frescoes on either side of mural cliffs, rough 
rocks, caved and ivied hanging woods, and smooth 
slopes of grass, till it makes its last bound into the 
tide, at the famous salmon leap at Ballyshannon. 
During the summer months Ballyshannon is the 
favourite resort of anglers, many of them from Eng- 


land; and in my schoolboy days I still remember 
the comely appearance of the great inventor of the 
safety lamp, Sir Humphry Davy, as he stood upon 
the banks of its beautiful river, making a raid with 
rod and fly among the finny occupants of its waters. 
There are many anecdotes of the great philosopher 
still remembered by the inhabitants. He happened 
to be staying at the Imperial Hotel, then kept by 
a man of the name of Brown. Sir Humphry had 
ordered some salmon for dinner, which had been 
taken fresh from The Pool that morning, and cooked 
and served up in the best style. The philosopher, 
however, was not satisfied with the repast prepared 
for him. So he desired his servant to get a salmon 
taken from the boxes, and have the blood extracted 
from it whilst in a live state. This, it appears, 
creates a curd in the fish, which is so much admired 
by the epicure, making it crisp and firm, and impart- 
ing to it a delicious flavour. With the patience of 
the philosopher, he awaited the result; had it pre- 
pared for his dinner, and partook of it with the 
greatest zest imaginable. It was, of course, roasted, 
and served up on wooden skewers. He afterwards 
acknowledged that he never eat better salmon than 
those of his favourite River Erne, which he pro- 
nounced in his work, " Salmonia ; or^ the Days of 
Fly-fishing^' to be the best river from its banks for 
fly-fishing in Ireland. Another mem, of this great 
man. He gave a sixpence to a boy to carry some 
trout to his hotel ; the boy demurring, and asking 


from his honor a shilling, Sir Humphry carried 
them off himself, and saved the sixpence. 

The banks of The Pool is a favourite resort for 
strangers in the fine summer evenings, to watch the sil- 
very salmon taking the leap at the fall as the tide rises. 
For a few seconds all is still ; then, perhaps, a mon- 
ster bounds from the water, and is observed for an 
instant quivering in the air ere he lights on the very 
edge of the cataract. For a single moment he strug- 
gles with the descending torrent, shoots through it 
like a stream of light, and disappears in the calm 
deep sheet above. As if encouraged by this success, 
about forty or fifty dash simultaneously at the fall ; 
some succeed, but more fail, to renew their attempts 
again and again, till finally triumphant. 

I sat by Ballyshannon in the summer, 

And saw the salmon leap ; 
And I said, as I beheld the gallant creatures, 

Spring glittering from the deep, 
Through the spray, and through the prone heaps striving 

In the calm clear stream above ; 
So seekest thou thy native founts of freedom, 

In thy brightness of strength and love. 

Thomas Davis. 

kilbabbon castle. 

Within a short distance of Ballyshannon is the 
fine old ruined Castle of Kilbarron, once the princely 
residence of O'Clery, to which were attached the 
lands of Creevagh, a grant from O'Donnell. The late 
lamented Dr. Petrie in his description of it says, **From 


the singularity of its situation, seated on a lofty, pre- 
cipitous, and nearly insulated cliff, exposed to the 
storms and billows of the Western Ocean, one would 
naturally conclude, that this now sadly dilapidated 
and time-worn ruin must have owed its origin to 
some rude and daring chieftain of old, whose occu- 
pation was war and rapine, and whose thoughts 
were as wild and turbulent as the waves that washed 
his sea-girt eagle dwelling ; and such, in their igno- 
rance of its unpublished history, has been the con- 
clusion formed by modern topographers, who tell us 
that it is supposed to have been the habitation of 
freebooters. But it was not so. 

** This lonely insulated fortress was erected as an 
abode for peaceful men ; a safe and quiet retreat in 
troubled times for the laborious investigators and pre- 
servers of the history, poetry, and antiquities of their 
country. This castle was the residence of the 01- 
lamhsy bards, and antiquarians of the people of Tircon- 
nell, the illustrious family of the O'Clerys. The lands 
annexed would, at the present day, produce a rental of 
little short of two thousand pounds a year." Every one 
is familiar with "Kilbarron's Last Bard to his Harp" : — 

Wake, let the despot's knell 

Peal from thy wires, 
Hope hath a tale to tell, 

Harp of my sires ; 
Tyranny's rayless night, 
Erin's degrading blight 
Sinks, that thy strains may light 

Liberty's fires. 



The Irish Chiefs, 

Oh ! to have lived like an Irish Chief when hearts were fresh 

and trae, 
And a manly thought, like a pealing Bell, would quicken them 

through and through ; 
And the seed of a generous hope right soon to a fiery action 

And Men would have scorned to talk and talk, and never a 
deed to do, 

Oh I the iron grasp 
And the kindly clasp 
And the laugh so fond and gay ; * 
And the roaring board. 
And the ready sword,^ 
Were the t3rpe8 of that vanished day. 

Charles Gavan Duffy. 

At a very interesting period in the history of Ire- 
land, the Mac Swynes were a powerful sept in Done- 
gal, and With the CGallaghers, the O'Boyles, the 
O'Donnells, and the O'Dogherties, enjoyed in it very 
large and extensive territorial possessions. 

There were three branches of the family — ^ITie Mac 
Swynes of Banagh, the Mac Swynes of Doe, and the 
Mac Swynes of Fanad. According to O'Brien they 
were called the Mac Swynes of the Axes, because they 
were the standard bearers and marshals of the O'Don- 
nells, and chiefs of the gallowglasses. A branch of 
the Mac Swynes also settled in Munster in the 13th 
century, in Cork, where they were distinguished mili- 
tary leaders, and became commanders under the Mac 



Carthys, princes of Desmond. From this branch of the 
family, I understand, the present patriotic Irishman, 
Peter Paul Mac Sweeny, of Dublin, who recently 
filled the civic chair of the metropolis with so much 
honour, is descended. There is one thing certain, that 
this much respected alderman has largely inherited 
those higher and nobler qualities of hospitality, faith 
and patriotism, for which his ancestral chiefs were so 
honourably distinguished. 


Clan, t-Suibhne Bhaighaineach Na-t-tuadh (Mac 
Swynes of the Battle Axe), of whichNiall Mor was the 
honoured chieftain, had several castles in and around 
Eillybegs. One of these is still to be seen by the travel- 
ler, after he passes Dunkineely, standing on a ledge 
of rock over Mac Swyne's Bay, and boldly confironting 
the western ocean, the ruins of which fail not to 
attest, even at the present day, the regal splendour 
which, in the olden time, surrounded the home of the 
Mac Swynes of Banagh. 

This was the princely residence of Niall Mor, where, 
surrounded by his followers and his retainers, he 
dispensed his hospitalities with truly Irish liberality, 
and of whose noble character and death the Annals 
of the Four Masters supply us with a very striking 



"A. D. 1524, Mac Swyney of Tir Boghaine, 
Banagh), Niall Mor, son of Eoghan, a constable of 


hardiest hand and heroism, best in withholding and 
attacking, best in hospitality and prowess, who had 
the most numerous troops and the most vigorous sol- 
diers, an(^ who had forced the greatest number of 
passes of any man of his own fair tribe, died after 
unction and penance at his own castle at Sathaine 
(Rahan, St. John's Point), 14th December, 1524." 

The following tribute to his memory is from the 
pen of a young gentleman, Mr. Cassidy, of Dun- 
kineely, which I have much pleasure in transferring 
to these pages : — 

Through the portals opened wide. 
Through the gates all flung aside 
Doleful, dark, in pomp and pride, 
Comes the funeral of Mac Swyne, 
Comes the funeral of the brave. 

He who swayed the battle-axe, 
Firm of grasp, of movement lax, 
Clefb in twain, like ball of wax. 
Cleft full many a foeman's head, 

He is dead, he is dead. 
And clansmen, march in battle line. 

Bear him to the grave, to the grave. 
Sad and silently they tread, 
Mourners of the mighty dead. 
With faltering foot and hooded head. 
Bards and Brehons follow next ; 

Then the coffin, which before 
Walks the Abbot sable stoled. 
Vestment robed in ample fold. 
Ribbed, adorned with threads of gold ; 



His eyes through clouds of sorrow look 
Downcast on the tear-stained book, 

Margin writ with many a text, 

Many a text of holy writ 

Bear him slowly, softly bear 
Him, the loyed of women fair; 
Him, the angels' special care. 
Bear him slowly, softly tread, 
Cross yourselves in solenm awe. 
Tell the prayer, and chaunt the keen, 
PUce his sword, and axe, and skean 
Where crest of horse and Jizard green, 
Broad-sword, battle-axe, and plume, 
Are carved upon his coffin tomb ; 
Kind of heart, and clear of head. 
He has bowed to Nature's law. 

And is he dead ? Ah, he's dead ! 
He, our clan's paternal head I 
He, the foeman's mortal dread ! 
He is gone, he is gone. 
And we never shall see him more. 

He of chieftain-like command. 
He of free and generous hand, 
He the lord of honor's wand. 
He the rock that could withstand 
Every shower of arrows keen. 
Fling them back as Camaween 
Fling the rays of summer sheen. 

He is gone, and we're alone 

Orphans and on sorrow's shore. 

And is he gone ? Ah, he's gone ! 
wirrastru, we're now alone ! 


We who still were ail his own, 
We whose very hearts had grown 

Unto his, unto bis I 

And shall we never see him more? 
Never look upon that face, 
With filial love each feature trace ; 
Never see him take his place 
In Kahan's ever open hall — 
And sure ^twas he that fed us all — 
Take his place upon the dais. 
Deal us round the bounteous score ? 

Chaunt, fair bard and senachie, 
The song of death so dolefully, 
As wail the winds from off the sea, 
When sinks to sleep the tempest fit, 
When the stormy gales depart ; 
His word of welcome never more 
Shall meet thee at the open door. 
When travel-stained and travel-sore. 
And grant refreshment, shelter, rest. 
And listen to your song and jest ; 
Of all your friends he was the best. 

For hospitality had writ. 
Had writ its laws upon his heart; 
But now that heart's for ever stilled 
In death, its warm affections chilled, 
And fied's the fearless soul that thrilled 
And surged within the mortal frame, 
And swelled and burst each narrow bond. 
Each narrow bond and niggard tie 
Where selfish souls contracted lie. 
Ah, his could brush the earth and sky. 
Could sweep through space and ride the stars, 
High over the wind's and the worlds wars : 



In war a withering blast of flame, 
In loYe a deep and placid pond. 

No more his Yoice on the dans shall call, • 
Nor flag shall fly on the rampart wall, 
That flag of fame is his funeral pall ; 
No more in the maddening conflict ring 
His conquering sword and his dreaded name. 
Nor kindling eyes at the casement bum 
With pleasure and pride at the chiers return ; 
How wildly they weep round his funeral urn. 
No moire young maids fipom their towers above 
Shall bathe his form in their looks of We — 
And genius', and valor's, and manhood's king, 
Ah, well might he kindle their hearts to flame. 

The nimble deer, unnoticed now. 
May roam around the mountain's brow ; 
The hawk its head in grief may bow, 
And falcon dread may droop its wing, 
And tame in ease its heart of fire. 
And mourn, ye hills, with drooping head. 
No more your sides Mac Swyne shall tread ; 
And his the foot that fleetest fled 
O'er your breasts at break of mom. 
And led the hunt with hound and horn 
And death ; no more he home shall bring 
The soldier's spoils or hunter's hire. 

While chime of bell and chaunt of prayer 
Mournful make the evening air, 
Bear the chieftain, slowly bear, 
And place him in the crypt below, 
Beneath the altar's sacred site ; 
Ah, narrow now must be his bed, 
And dust shall pillow heart and head, 



TM riZV; YO?.K 

p:>...: LIBRARY 




The bloom of Banagh's line is shed; 
Dust to dust, the spirit's flown 
To mix in heaven among its own ; 
But what can blunt the trying blow 
That leaves us fatherless below? 


Within a short distance of the castle at Rathaine, 
on the southern shore of St John's Point, close to a 
small village called Ballysaggart (Priest's Town), are 
the crumbling walls of a little Franciscaji church 
(3rd 6rder of St. Francis), connected formerly with a 
monastery, and built and endowed at the close of the 
1 5 th century by the wealth of the Mac Swynes of 

Like all other such buildings in Ireland, it enjoys 
all the advantages of a beautiful but isolated site, 
looking out on the full stretch of the Donegal Bay, 
with Bundoran and the sand hills near Ballyshannon 
and the well cultivated slopes of Drumholm adding 
beauty to the opposite shores before it. Here, the 
presumption is, rest in peace the remains of the 
chieftain Niall Mor; and it was here that was re- 
cently discovered, in a very unprotected place in the 
south-west corner of this ruined building, the beau- 
tiful Celtic slab recording his memory, 


The slab itself is coflin-shaped, and covered over 
with sculpture in bas relief of the most elaborate 
character. In one of the upper compartments is a 
figure of the chieftain himself in the dress of the gal- 

c 2 


lowglass, which exactly corresponds with the descrip- 
tion given by the late lamented Eugene O'Curry and 
other writers : " The Irish gallowglass wore a defen- 
sive coat studded with iron nails, a long sword was 
by his side, and an iron head-piece secured his 
head, and in his hand he grasped a broad keen-edged 

It is very well known that the Irish forces were 
composed of kerns, gallowglasses, and cavalry. 
The word kern is derived from ceith-camach, which 
signifies a battler. So swift were they that they 
ran over mountains and valleys like the rein-deer. 
Froissart, in his chronicles, giving an account of 
king Richard's expedition, says of the Irish sol- 
diers, that they were so strong and active that 
on foot they could overtake the English horsemen at 
full speed, leap up behind the rider, and pull him 
from his horse. The name gallowglass is derived 
from the Irish (gal-oge-laoch), galy a foreigner, ogCy 
young, and Uxoch^ a chieftain. They were the heavy 
infantry of the Irish, select men, of great strength and 
stature, armed with swords and battle-axes ; they also 
wore armour, such as helmets and breastplates of iron, 
with a shield. Their chief weapon was the battler 
axe ; and in remote times their warriors used a for* 
midable weapon called a battle-hammer, which was a 
wooden club, studded with short spikes and knobs of. 
iron. The battle-axe was always keen-edged, and 
was wielded by one hand, the thumb being placed 
on the handle to guide the stroke ; and they struck 


With such force that they often clove the skull of the 
warrior through his own helmet with a single blow. 
It is also recorded of them that sometimes with one 
stroke they cut off the thigh of a horseman, the limb 
falling on one side, the body on the other. Being 
the strongest, the steadiest, and the best disciplined 
of the Irish forces, they generally bore the brunt of 
the battle. On the standards of the Irish chieftains 
we find frequently the representation of trees and 

In other compartments of the fine old slab are the 
deer and the Irish wolf-dog, and the horse and lizard, 
the crest of Mac Swyney . There is also what appears 
the reconciliation of the chieftains, with symbols of 
the Trinity, and a great variety of interlaced work. 
The slab consists of nine compartments, and measures 
in length seven feet, being three feet wide at the top 
and two feet at the botttom. 

With a view solely to the better preservation of 
this fine old Celtic monument, and to protect it from 
the careless step of the passer-by, from the decaying 
hand of time, and the falling debris of the old build- 
ing, and the more to pierpetuate and hand down to 
posterity the fame of this fine old warrior, of whom 
the annalist has supplied such a noble character, the 
Rev. Mr. Stephens, P. P., with the assistance of some 
of his archaeological friends, has had it recently re- 
moved, and fixed securely in the south wall, inside the 
nave of his church (St. Mary's, Killybegs). Alongside 
of it will be placed a slab containing the date of its 


removal from the old crumbling walls of the ruined 
church, and the inscription of his noble death and 
deeds, from the Four Masters. 

Here, in this massive and beautiful church, it will 
be seen by thousands, who will become familiarized 
with its history, where before it remained in compa- 
rative obscurity. It was owing to this state of its 
isolation that it escaped the notice of Dr. Petrie, the 
Kev. Dr. Todd, Dr. Stokes, Samuel Ferguson, and 
others, when on an exploring expedition, a few years 
ago, among the archaeological treasures at Killybegs 
and the Shan Glen. Since it has been placed in 
St. Mary's church it has attracted the notice of many 
distinguished savana. Among those who have been 
to see it, I may enumerate the Lord Chancellor, the 
Master of the Rolls, the Right Hon. Chief Baron 
Pigott, and Chief Justice Monahan; Right Hon. 
Judges Keogh and Lawson; Mr. James P. Hamilton, 
Assistant-Barrister, Sligo ; Lord Viscount Southwell, 
Sir James Power and Lady Power; Kenelm Digby, 
Esq., M. P., Queen's County ; Denis Caulfield Heron, 
Esq., M. P., Tipperary, with a host of English and 
American tourists. 


Most of the Franciscan houses of the third order 
were erected in Donegal in the 1 5th century, especially 
those at Killybegs, Ballysaggart, Killyodonnell, Mag- 
harabeg, and Inver. The friars of those houses lived 
in community, observed strict discipline, attended the 


sick and dying in the immediate neighbourhood, and 
devoted themselves to the education of the youth of 
the surrounding district. Such was the rule of the 
tertiaries of St. Francis ; and indeed so solicitous 
were the Mac Swynes and the O'Donnells for the 
education of the people, that they took especial care 
to settle large endowments on the houses of the third 
order, subject always to the control of the generals 
and provincials. 


The Bev. Charles Meehan supplies a very graphic 
and beautiful history of this monastery. '* It was in 
the year 1474) when the Franciscans were holding a 
provincial chapter in the monastery of Boss Bial, that 
Nualla O'Connor, the daughter of O'Connor Faily, 
one of the most powerful of the Leinster princes, and 
wife of Hugh Eoe O'Donnell, came, accompanied by 
a brilliant attendance of noble ladies and a goodly 
escort of kerns and gallowglasses, to present an 
humble memorial to the assembled fathers. When 
the latter had duly considered the prayer of the 
memorial, they deputed the provincial to inform her 
that they could not comply with her request at that 
moment, but that at some future time, they would 
cheerfiiUy send a colony of Franciscans to the prin- 
cipality of Tirconnell. * What ! ' replied the princess, 
sorely pained by the refusal, * I have journeyed a 
hundred miles to attain the object that has been 
dearest to my heart, and will you now venture to 


deny my firayer ? If you do, beware of God's wrath, 
for I will appeal to His throne, and charge you with 
the loss of all the souls which your reluctance nnty 
cause to perish in the territory of Tirconnell.' Ear- 
nest and energetic was the lady's pleading, so much 
so that she ultimately overcame the hesitation of the 
friars, some of whom proflfered themselves ready to 
accompany her to Donegal Proud of her success, 
the Lady Nualla then set out on her journey home- 
wards, followed by a good number of Franciscans, 
who, when they arrived in the barony of Hr Hugh, 
immediately commenced building the far-famed mo- 
nastery at the head of the lovely Bay of DonegaL 
The site indeed was happily chosen, and nothing 
could surpass the beauty of the prospect it com- 
manded.. Hard by the windows of the refectory was 
the wharf, where foreign ships took in their cargoes of 
hides, fish, wool, linen cloth and folding ; and there, 
too, came the galleons of Spain laden with wine and 
arms in exchange for the merchandise which the 
lords of Tirconnell sent annually to the Brabant marts, 
then the great emporium for the north of Europe. 
In sooth it was a lovely spot, and sweetly suggestive 
of holy meditation. In the calm day of summer, 
when the broad expanse of the estuary lay still and 
unruffled, mirroring in the blue depths the overca- 
nopying heaven, was it not a fair image of the un- 
broken tranquillity and peace to which the hearts of the 
recluses aspired ? — and in the winter nights, when the 
great crested waves rolled in majestic fury against the 


granitic headlands, would not the driving storm, wreck, 
and unavailing cry of drowning mariners, remind the 
inmate of that monastery that he had chosen the 
safer part, by abandoning a world where the tempest 
of the passions wreaks destruction far more appalling. 
But the Lady Nualla died before the building was 
finished, and good reason had the friars to cherish a 
lasting remembrance of her piety and munificence. 
Her remains were interred in a vault which her 
widowed lord caused to be constructed, almost under 
the great altar, and he also determined that thence- 
forth his entire posterity should repose in the same 

" In this monastery there were forty suits of vest* 
ments, some of them interwoven and brocaded with 
gold ; sixteen silver chalices, and two ciboriums, in- 
laid with precious stones. These were the gifts of 
the princes of Tirconnell. 

"I understand that one of the chalices belonging to 
the monastery is at present in the keeping of the Rev. 
Patrick M*Gree, P. P., Upper Badony, in the diocese 
of Derry, of which an engraving was supplied to the 
* Kilkenny Archaeological Journal.' " 

The Rev. Mr. Stephens, of Killybegs, has also 
recently come into possession of another of the silver 
chalices connected with the Donegal Convent, with 
the following inscription : — 

f' Ant" o Doherty T. S. D. procuravit ^ 

H Oalicem pro usu fiT m. s. n. fi^ 
Convt" Dongaliensis. 


This chalice was brought to America in 1850 bj a 
young priest, of the name of Donelly, from the dio- 
cese of Clogher, who was, a few years ago, acciden- 
tally killed on the railway near Bochester, in the 
state of New York. Shortly after his death it was 
purchased for one hundred dollars by the Rev. 
Edward M'Gowan, pastor of St. Michael's Church, 
Penn Yan, who kindly presented it to Mr. Ste- 
phens. In the second edition of that most in- 
teresting work, "The Flight of the Earls," by the 
Kev. Mr. Meehan, there is mention made of another 
of these chalices, which is now in the hands of a 
priest in Quebec, and which had been presented in 
former days to the Donegal Convent by a lady of 
the house of Mac Guire. 

Among the historical notices of the Mac Swjmes 
of Banagh, the following are taken from the Annals 
of the Four Masters: ** In 1533, Eoghan O'Malley 
came by Night with the Crews of three Ships into the 
Harbour of Killybegs, and the Chieftains of the 
Country being aU that time in O'Donnell's army, 
they plundered and burned the Town, and took many 
prisoners. They were overtaken by a storm on their 
return, so that they were compelled to remain on the 
Coast of the Country, and they lighted fires and 
torches near their Ships. A youthful stripling of the 
Mac Swynes, Bryan, and the Son of Bryan O'Gall- 
gher, and a party of Farmers and Shepherds, overtook 
them and attacked them courageously, and slew 
Eoghan O'Malley and five or six score of others with 


him, and also captured two of their Ships, and 
rescued from them the Prisoners they had taken 
through the miracles of God and St. Catherine, whose 
Town they had profaned." 

We also find it recorded that, "In 1522, the Son 
of Mac Swyne of Tir Boghaine, Bryan the Fleet, who 
was left by O'Donnell to guard the Castle of Bally- 
shannon, defended the Town against O'Neill. The 
Town, however, was finally taken, and Mac Swyne 
numbered among the slain. In 1542, A Ship came 
for the purpose of plunder from Connaught, and 
landed at Rathlin 'Byrne (off Glencolmkill). Tur- 
logh, the son of Mac Swyney, Banagh, attacked and 
slaughtered them, so that none escaped to tell their 
disaster, except their chief leader, the sonof OTlagh- 
erty, to whom Mac Swyne gave quarter, and sent him 
under an escort to Connemara. In 1563, the son of 
Mac Swyne of Banagh, Eoin Modardha (John the 
Stern), son of NialMor, died in the spring-time of his 
life and noble achievements." 


(Doire Zeatkan), in the parish of KUcar, bounded on the west by 

the Bay of Teeling, 

1590 : "The son of O'Donnell, Donnell the son of 
Hugh, son of Manus, son of Hugh Dubh, son of Hugh 
Roe, son of Niall Gary, son of Turlogh of the Wine, at- 
tempted to depose his father, after he had grown weak 
and feeble from old age, and after his other son had been 
imprisoned in Dublin ; so that Donnell brought under 


his jurisdiction and power that part of Tirconnell from 
the mountain westward from Bamesmor to the River 
Drowes, and also the people of Boylagh and Banagh. 
It was a cause of great grief and anguish to Ineen 
Dubh, the daughter of James Mac Donnell, that Don- 
nell should make such an attempt, lest he might 
obtain the chieftainship of Tirconnell in preference to 
her son, Hugh Eoe, who was confined in Dublin, and 
who, she hoped, would become chief whatever time 
God would permit him to return from his captivity. 
And she, therefore, assembled all the Kinell Connell 
who were obedient to her husband — namely, O'Dogh- 
ertie, with his forces, Mac Swyney, Nat-tuath, Owen 
Oge, with his forces, and Mac Swyney Fanad, with 
his forces, with a great number of Scotch along with 
them. After Donnell O'Donnell had received intel- 
ligence that this muster had been made to oppose 
him, he assembled his forces to meet them. These 
were they who rose up to assist him : Mac Swyney, 
Banagh ; Donagh, the son of Mulmurry ; a party of 
the Clan Swyney of Munster, under the command of 
the three sons of Eoghan, the son of Mulmurry, the 
son of Donagh, son of Turlogh, and their forces, and 
O'Boyle ; Teague Oge, the son of Teige, the son of 
Turlogh, with all his forces, assembled. The place 
where the son of O'Donnell happened to be stationed 
along with these chieftains was Doire-leathan, at the 
extremity of Tir-Boyhane, Glean Choluim Cille. The 
other party did not halt till they came to them at that 
place ; and a battle ensued between them, which was 


fiercely fought on both sides. The Scotch discharged 
a shower of arrows from their elastic bows, by which 
they pierced and wounded great numbers, and attiong 
the rest the son of O'Donnell himself was slain at 
Doire-leathan, on one side of the harbour of Teeling, 
on the 14th September." Seldom before that time 
had his enemies triumphed over him ; and the party 
by whom he was slain had not been by any means his 
enemies, until they encountered on this occasion; and 
although Donnell was not the rightful heir to his 
father's patrimony, it would have been no disgrace to 
Tirconnell to have elected him as its chief, had he 
been permitted to attain to that dignity. In this 
battle were slain, along with O'Donnell, the three 
sons of Eoghan, son of Mulmurry, son of Donagh, 
above mentioned, together with 200 others, around 
Donnell. — **Annals of the Four Masters." 


Mac Suibhne Nat-thuagh (Mac Swynes of the dis- 
trict) were the territorial lords of that part of Tircon- 
nell that is washed by the waters of Sheephaven Bay, 
at the southern end of which stands proudly over 
the sea their princely old castle (Doe Castle). Close to 
it is a fine salmon fishery, where, no doubt, the young 
Mac Swynes, in the days gone by, indulged in their 
piscatorial amusements; whilst around was ample 
sport for the hunter and the fowler among the red deer 
and game of the neighbouring covers. It was in this 


neighbourhood the famous Owen Roe O'Neill landed 
from Belgium in 1641. 

From this point there is a magnificent view over 
the red sands of Bosapenna, where, for miles from 
Downing Bay, there is not a blade of grass nor a par- 
ticle of verdure, but one wide scene of desolation, 
extending as far as the old chapel in the sands of 
RosgulL Some fifty or more years since, this line of 
coast was as highly improved, as that on the opposite 
shore at Ards, where stands the beautiful residence 
of the Stewart family. Here was the aristocratic 
mansion of Lord Boyne, an old-fashioned manorial 
house and garden, planted and laid out according to 
the taste of the time, with avenues and terraces, 
hedges and statues, surrounded by walled parks for 
the deer, but now not a vestige to be seen, but one 
common waste of sand — one undistinguished ruin 
covering all. 

In 1543, MacSwyne (Nat-lhuagh) and his son 
were taken prisoners by a fleet from Connaught (on 
Inis mac an Duim, an island off the Donegal coast), 
and carried into <5aptivity ; and in 1 544 is recorded 
the death of another son, Murrogh, who was highly 
honoured for hospitable deeds and nobility of cha- 


This branch of the family of the clan Mac Swyney 
had their lordly castle at RathmuUan, proudly standing 
on the shores of Lough Swilly, and described by the 

dowcba's nabrative. 47 

annalists as the strongest fortified place in Ulster. In 
1570 a member of this family, Turlough Oge, was 
treacherously murdered at Dunnalong (the Fort of the 
Ships), on the River Foyle, within a few miles of 

In 1586, Dowcra, in his narrative, tells us of an 
onslaught he made in this year on the MacSwyne 
territory, which must have caused great havoc and 
suffering among his retainers : *' But the springe 
coming on, and having the helpe of this countrie for 
carriages, towards the latter end of March I drew 
forth and made a journey on Mac Swyne, Fanaght, 
whose countrie lyes divided from O'Doghertie's by a 
bay of the sea. I came upon him unawares, and sur- 
prised and got into my possession about 1000 of his 
cowes before he had leisure to drive them away. 
Himselfe came unto mee upon it, and desired his sub- 
mission to the Queen might be accepted of, and used 
the mediation of O'Dohertie and Hugh Buy that I 
would restore him the prey. After much entreatie 
and importunitie I was prest withal, and thinking 
with myselfe it might be a goode example to such 
others as I should have occasion to deale with, that I 
sought not their goods so much as their obedience, 
reserving a parte onlie for reward of the soldiers* 
labor, I was contented, and gave him back thereste, 
taking his oath for his future fidelitie, and six pledges 
such as I was advised to choose, and whereoffe his 
own son was one ; and to have a tye on him beside, I 
left Captain Ralph Bingley with his companie of 150 


men in garrison in his countrie at the Abbey of Eath- 
muUen. It is true for all that, not long after, without 
compulsion, he made his reconciliation with O'Don- 
nell underhand, and promised to betray the garrison 
that lay upon him, and secretly sought to get his 
pledges out of my hande ; but, failing in both, and yet 
resolved to goe on his course, he drove away all his 
cattle and goods, and openlie declared himself an 
enymy against us. In revenge whereof I presentlie 
hung up his pledges, and in September following 
made another journie upon him, burnt and destroyed 
his houses and come, whereupon winter approaching 
found the death of most of his people ; and in Decem- 
ber after, at the earnest entreatie of Neal Garuie, I 
tooke his submission againe, and six more pledges, 
and from that forward he continued in good sub- 

In a few years afterwards we are told that George 
Bingham, governor of Sligo, under Sir Eichard Bing- 
ham, sailed with the crew of a ship axound Tirconnell, 
and put into Cuan Suilghe (Lough Swilly) ; and the 
inhabitants not being prepared for the foray, he plun- 
dered their noble abbey, carrying away its vestments, 
chalices, and other valuables. 

A great portion of the walls of this fine old Car- 
melite abbey are still standing. 

Where the pillared corbal and buttress lone. 
Speak haughtily of the glories gone. 

Over the east window of the chapel is the figure of a 


mitred abbot, and in the cHancel corballed heads of 
the recluses, with sculptured slabs containing the 
crest and armorial bearings of The Mac Swyne. There 
is not in all Ireland a prettier spot for a religious 
foundation than that on which stands the old ruined 
abbey and castle of RathmuUan — a place 

Where pensive thought 
And heavenly contemplation dwell ; 

looking out as it does on such a beautiful landscape 
in front of the Island of Inch, with its frowning batte- 
ries, and Fahan and Buncrana sparkling in the sun- 
shine on the opposite shore, whilst, beneath, it is 
mirroring itself in the gently flowing flood of the 
S willy. And who can reflect for a moment on the 
depths to which man may fall, who would dare to lay 
his profane and sacrilegious hands on this holy sanc- 
tuary, without a tear of sympathy that he should be 
so degraded. 


It was here, at RathmuUan Castle, that the young 
chieftain, Hugh Eoe, then only in his i6th year, with 
other nobles of the country, were enjoying the far- 
famed hospitality of Owen Oge Mac Swyne, the lord 
of the castle, and looking out on the beautiful bay 
before them. A ship was observed coming up the 
bay, with a deceptive ensign, under the pretext of 
being a Spanish vessel freighted with the choicest 
wines. The news of its arrival being immediately 



spread abroad, the young chieftain with some others 
went on board, where they were most graciously re* 
ceived by the captain, who invited them down to the 
saloon, where he gave them the most delicious wines. 
Whilst, however, they were enjoying his hospitality, 
there was lurking behind it a deep-laid plot. The 
hatches were secured, and he was hurried off a pri- 
soner to Dublin Castle. 

The generous prince Red Hugh, 
Unguarded, quits the fortress walls and stands amidst the crew. 
Down with the hatches, set the sails, we've won the wished- for 

Above the rebePs prison cell to-morrow's sun shall rise. 
Untasted foams the Spanish wine, the board is spread in vain. 
The hand that waved a welcome forth is shackled by a chain. 
Yet faster, faster, through the deep the vessel glideth on, 
TirconneU's towers, like phantoms, fade, the last faint trace is 


In vain did Mac Swyney send his messengers on 
board to offer a ransom : it would not be accepted. 
Hugh Eoe remained a prisoner three years and three 
months, when he contrived to effect his escape in 1 59 1 . 


Killybegs is undoubtedly one of the prettiest and 
most attractive of our sea-side towns, looking out 
as it does on its landlocked and beautiful bay, with 
the tide flowing up to the very doors of the houses. 
It was formerly, in the good old times, called Cealla 



A3TOR, LE^«»J» 



beagga (the little churches), when the Mac Swynes 
were the terrce dominantes alumni. 

Killybegs was incorporated by a royal charter, in 
the 1 3th year of the reign of James I., into a borough, 
with the titles of provost, free burgesses, and com- 
monalty of Killybegs. It returned two Members to 
the Irish Parliament, down to the time of the Union 
when it became disfranchised. Its bay is one of the 
finest in Ireland, shut out by Nature's barriers from 
every storm, and capable of floating, in the most 
perfect security, the largest of H. M. S. ships of war, 
some of which occasionally condescend to pay her 
a visit. The largest vessels can enter and take their 
departure at every state and condition of the tide. 
It affords the very best anchorage ; and, oftentimes, it 
has done good service by rescuing the tempest-tossed 
ship, when it was all but the prey of the storm. An 
English tourist lately observed, that it was one of the 
most beautiful things of the kind in the United King- 
dom, surpassing even Dartmouth Harbour. Dart- 
mouth has no black mountain to frown out grandly 
beyond it. The houses which, since a recent period, 
have been almost all rebuilt are of a very substantial 
and imposing character. There are two very fine 
hotels, — Coan's Hotel, and Rog rs' Hotel — which 
afford ample accommodation and every comfort 
to visitors. St. Mary's Church is a very stately edi- 
fice, with a massive and well-proportioned tower, 
and occupying a commanding site overtopping the 
town and harbour. It has one of the finest paintings 



in it to be seen in any church in Ireland, a beautiful 
copy, after Murillo, of the Holy Family. It was pre- 
sented to this church, in 1 844, by the late Mr. Murray 
of Broughton, the lord of the soil.* It was at that 
time bought up at a sale of a wealthy nobleman in 
London, who was disposing of his London house and 
paintings. The house was purchased as a town resi- 
> dence by the great Bothschild, and all the paintings, 
with the exception of the present one, which was so 
large (eight feet by seven feet) that it occupied too 
much space, and the more especially so as he brought 
with him a rare collection of his own, in addition to 
those he there purchased. It has been recently re- 
stored, at a very considerable expense, by Mr. Lesage, 
of Dublin. There is, also, in the interior of this church, 
besides the fine old Celtic tomb of Niall Mor, a 
marble monument, by Farrell, to commemorate the 
memory of the celebrated Bishop Donatus M'Gonigle, 
who died at Killybegs in the year 1589. 

This illustrious prelate was one of the few bishops 
of the Irish Church who reflected lustre on the closing 
sessions of the Council of Trent. He succeeded, in 
the see of Raphoe, Art Mac Phelim Fin O'Gallagher, 
whose death took place in August, 1 56 1 . His appoint- 
ment is thus recorded in the Consistorial Records : — 
'* Die 28 Januarii, 1562. Referente D. Cardinali 
Morone SS. providit Ecclesiae Rapotensi vacanti per 
obitum bonsB memoriae Arturi, extra Romanam Cu- 
riam defuncti de persona D. Donaldi Magongoill 

* Mr. Murray, it is said, paid for it some 200 guineas. 



Hiberni presentis in Curia commendati itidem litteris 
Eeverendi Patris David, cum retentione Rectoriae 
Kyllatay (in another copy Cilactai) Diocesis Eapo- 

When the P. P. of Killybegs and Killaghtee, he 
had acquired great fame for prudence and theological 
skill, and had visited Rome on matters connected with 
his diocese in 1560. Father David Wolfe, S. J., was 
at this time discharging the duties of Delegate Apos- 
tolic of the Roman See in Ireland, and Dr. M*Gon- 
ghaill was one of those whom he chose as his com- 
panion in the perilous task of performing a visitation 
of some of the most disturbed districts in Ireland. In 
the autumn of 1561, Father Wolfe commissioned 
Dr. M'Gonghaill to proceed to Rome, bearer of im- 
portant letters, and to place before the Holy Father 
the true condition and wants of the Irish Church at 
this trying period of its history. The letters con- 
signed to him have already been published. Among 
them the following : — 

*' May the true peace and love of our Redeemer 
be in our hearts. 

**I addressed a letter a few days ago through 
Sir William Neon to your Excellency, on the state of 
the Church in this district of Munster ; but now I 
deem it better to send in person the bearer of this 
letter, Donald Mac Gonghaill, to give full details to 
you, as he was the companion of my journey in Ire- 
land, and as he is a man of judgment, well acquainted 
with the circumstances of this country, having also, 


as I will just now mention, other business there. 
This Donald, being my companion in Connaught, we 
saw there, though we did not visit them, the Arch- 
bishop of Tuam and the Bishop of Clonfert, who, in 
the ways of this world, are good and honest men. 
The bearer of this letter, Donald Mac Gonghaill, was 
my companion in the district of Connanght; and 
there is no one in Ireland better able to give you ac- 
curate information about everything ; wherefore, I 
send him to Rome for a twofold purpose — ist, to 
give you intelligence about myself; and, 2nd, that as 
the Bishop of Raphoe has been lately taken away 
from us, I know of no one better suited to be his suc- 
cessor. He is very learned, according to the style of 
literature of this country ; and he is beloved by every 
one ; he, moreover, spent some time in Rome last 

*' About fourteen persons have started from Ire- 
and, without any letters from me, to procure that 
bishoprick; amongst them is the Dean of Raphoe 
(quite a diflFerent personage from the present most 
respected administrator of the diocese. Dean Feely), 
a man who, as I have been informed by trustworthy 
persons, is far better skilled in the sword than the 
cross. I pray your Excellency not to give credence 
to him, should he plead ignorance of my coming to 
Ireland ; for there is not an individual in the whole 
country, whether heretic or Catholic, that has not 
heard of my mission hither, in consequence of a noti- 
fication which I caused to be published in every part 


of the island. As the vessel is now about to start, I 
will say no more, but recommend these three travel- 
lers to your Excellency, as well as Sir William Neon, 
whom I already sent thither, praying God to preserve 
your Excellency in health of body and mind, to His 
own greater glory, and to the great advantage of 
this afflicted country. 

"From Limerick, 12th Oct., 1561. 

" Your Excellency's unworthy servant, 

" David Wolfe." 

The following day Father Wolfe gave to Donald 
and his companions another introductory letter, think- 
ing that, perhaps, on arriving in France they might, 
with sufficient safety, be able to consign to the courier 
the letter just cited : — 

"The bearers of this note," he says, "are the 
same about whom I wrote in my letter of yesterday 
and, in order that they may be able to despatch that 
letter by the courier, I gave them also the present 
lines, praying your Excellency to receive them as 
persons recommended by me. The name of the 
secular priest is Donald Mac Gonghaill. He is a man 
well versed in the affairs of this nation ; and I wish 
your Excellency would command him, in virtue of 
holy obedience, to make known to you how Donatus, 
the Archbishop of Armagh, and other prelates, deport 
themselves. His companions are, Andrew O'Crean 
and Eugene O'Hart, whom I have already recom- 
mended to you, and whom I now recommend anew* 


I will add no more, as I leave everything in the 
hands of Donald." 

Dr. M*Gonij2;le was consecrated Bishop of Raphoe 
in the Eternal City ; and soon after, in the month of 
May, set out for Trent, to assist at the sessions of 
the great Council, which was convened there. In 
the metrical catalogue of the Council, Donald M*Go- 
nigle receives the epithet of the "Just," whilst at 
the same time he is described as in the flower of 
his age, and adorned with every episcopal virtue. 
His votes are more than once referred to in the acts 
of the Council; and he seems to have always ranged 
himself on the side of strict discipline and canonical 
observance. At the close of the Synod, in 1563, 
Dr. M*Gonigle hastened back to his flock, to share 
their perils in defence of the faith, and to break 
to them the bread of eternal life. Two provincial sy- 
nods were held in Ulster during the subsequent years, 
for the purpose of promulgating the Tridentine de- 
crees. At the first, held in 1568, he was unable to 
assist, being prevented by the continued wars which 
then harassed his diocese, as Dr. Creagh, the mar- 
tyred prelate of Armagh, informs us; but, at the 
second, in 1587, Donaldus Episcopus Rapotensis is 
the second name that is registered among those who 
shared in its proceedings. The chief result of this pro- 
vincial synod was, the publication throughout the 
greater part of Ulster of the decrees of the Council of 

"Publicari fecerunt coram multitudine cleri ibi- 


dem presente Concilium Tridentinum ab omnibus 
recipiendum precipientes in singulis parochiis recipi 
decretum de reformatione matrimonii." 

The Eoman archives preserve only two additional 
entries regarding this distinguished bishop. In 1569, 
he is described as recommending a worthy successor 
in the see of St. Macarten ; and the second entry 
commemorates that the special faculties usually 
granted missionary bishops were renewed for him 
4th May, 1575. 

The manuscript in the British Museum gives us 
still further details of him. It says : " He was the 
third great bishop that was in the Council of Trent ; 
he was an active and well qualified man ; he could 
write well, and speak both the Latin, English, and 
Irish tongues. Commonly he accompanied O'Don- 
nell when he came to Dublin before the State ; he 
dealt much for the business of the Church ; and at 
length he obtained letters under Sir Henry Sydney's 
and the Council's hands for the immunity of his 
Church, that neither English or Irish should have 
cess or press upon the church lands ; and if any num- 
ber of persons should offend contrary to the Lord 
Deputy and Council's order established in that be- 
half, that such delinquent shall pay into the Church 
tenfold as much as should be thus wrongfully ex- 

The " Annals of the Four Masters" fix the death of 
Bishop M*Gonigle for the 29th of September, 1589. 
He died at Cealla-beagga, now Killybegs, Co. Done- 


gal. On the summit of a hill which rises above the 
beautiful bay of Eillybegs, and beside a moss-grown 
cemetery, there stands a ruin which tradition points 
to as the church to which the bishop retired in times 
of peril to offer up the sacrifice for his flock ; and the 
same tradition attests that his venerable remains 
repose in the neighbouring cemetery. Many an hour 
have I spent in this ancient resting-plabe of the dead, 
but have failed to discover any memorial to point 
out the grave of the illustrious bishop. 

Eillybegs has been long placed under the .pa- 
tronage of St. Catherine the Martyr, who is one of the 
most eminent of our saints. She was heiress to the 
throne of Egypt, and became queen at the age of 
fourteen. She had little regard, however, for rank 
or splendour, so she devoted herself to the study of 
philosophy. When her people perceived this, they 
recommended her to choose a husband to assist her 
in governing, and who would lead them out to battle. 
The young queen was troubled, and asked : " Where 
shall I find one such as I desire ?" She spoke of so 
many perfections and qualities that they could be 
found only in God himself. She afterwards conse- 
crated her entire life to His service, and became a 
glorious martyr. Days of persecution came : Chris- 
tians were barbarously tortured and put to death, 
and Catherine encouraged and strengthened them. 
At last it was decreed that she should be tied to four 
revolving wheels, stuck over with sharp-pointed 
spikes, so that when the wheels were moved she 


-would be torn in pieces ; but fire came down from 
Heaven and the executioners were destroyed, whilst 
she remained alive. She was afterwards taken out- 
side the city, scourged with rods, and beheaded. Her 
body was afterwards taken up to the Monastery on 
the top of Mount Sinai; built by the Empress Helena. 
On account of St. Catherine's great erudition, and 
the extraordinary spirit of piety by which she sancti- 
fied her learning, and the use she made of it, she 
is chosen in the schools as the patroness and model 
of Christian philosophers. Her festival is observed 
on the 24th of November. Killybegs has all the 
resources of greatness about it, and I have no doubt 
that it will yet become a flourishing and very im- 
portant town, when advantage will be taken of its 
well sheltered and commodious bay to make it the 
centre and emporium for the commerce of the several 
towns and extensive district of country around it. 
If such a magnificent harbour were in any other part 
of the world, long since its waters would have been 
utilized by the steam wheels of commercial enter- 
prise, and a connecting line of railway formed either 
with the Finn Valley or the Irish N. W. Railway, 
Killybegs would then, in all probability, be made a 
packet station, it being the nearest and safest har- 
bour to New York. What a saving would be effected 
by steam packet companies of so many thousands, now 
spent in harbour dues and for the use of steam ten- 
ders! Killybegs is also admirably situated for a 
naval station, and one of the largest of Her Majesty's 


iron-clads ought to be permanently stationed here, 
infinitely preferable to the Foyle or the Swilly, 
both which are so far from the olEncr. Factories 
would also become a profitable investment, and 
employ all the spare labour, emigration checked, 
the coast fisheries encouraged and developed, and 
the common law right of the fisherman to the 
high seas, as far as high-water mark, recognised. 
Peace, happiness, and industry would then prevail ; 
and there would be comfortable and smiling home- 
steads. What a glorious prospect for the philanthro- 


Of the many islands that encircle the shores of 
Ireland, there are few, I will venture to say, fraught 
with more interest for the antiquarian than '* Torry," 
oflF the beautiful coast of Donegal. 

This island is about ten miles from the mainland 
(at the Coast Guard Station, near Falcarragh), and 
presents an extent of surface some 2^ miles long, and 
1 mile broad. It is dignified with three little towns, 
called the East, and "West, and the Middle Town, and 
has a population of some 420 souls. It is inhabited 
by a very hardy, adventurous, and stalworth race, 
the men six feet in ordinary height, and of a dark 
complexion; and the women noble, tall, and dark- 
featured ; and for strength and agility the Torry fisher- 


men cannot be excelled. The dress of the young men 
is a cloth coat of a blue colour, or striped jacket, with 
oilcloth hat, drugget vest, and corduroy trousers; 
and around the neck a richly-coloured tie, of the 
sailor rig. The dress of the women is the camlet 
petticoat, a drugget gown, and white head-dress; 
whilst most of the children are arrayed in red flannel, 
which gives them a picturesque appearance. A con- 
siderable part of the island is under cultivation, and 
produces corn, barley, rye, and potatoes. The cul- 
tivation is principally confined to the southern part 
and lowlands of the island, the northern part being 
exposed to the hurricane, when the drifted spray levels 
3.11 before it. Still there is a sign which indicates the 
coming season. If the ravens build in the north there 
is no anticipation of danger for that year, as these 
birds will not expose their young brood to the storm. 
Yet their 'principal support is derived from the sea 
by fishing, and the manufacture of kelp, which is 
carried on largely. Fish are at all times numerous 
about the island, comprising turbot, cod, ling, had- 
dock, plaice, mackerel, gurnet, brazers, lobster, crabs, 
and occasionally, but at uncertain intervals, the her- 
ring. Formerly, under the fostering care of the Irish 
Parliament, the herring fishery was very successfully 
prosecuted all along the north-west coast of Donegal. 
"We find a petition presented to the Irish House of 
Commons, in March, 1786, largely signed, setting 
forth the number of ships employed off this coast that 
season to amount to nearly 500, the tonnage of which 


exceeded on an average 20,000 tons. And that the 
boats employed by said ships in taking herrings 
amounted to more than 2000 : 

That almost all these ships were loaded with full 
cargoes of good, sound, well-cured marketable her- 
rings superior to any ever imported ; that one year 
with another the herrings shipped for the different 
markets have exceeded 1 50,000 barrels annually, ex- 
clusive of the large quantities carried by land, for the 
supply of the inland counties ; that the greater part 
of said fish were consumed in the kingdom ; that 
the markets have been constantly supplied for several 
years past with a sufficient quantity of well-cured 
herrings at a reasonable price for home consumption, 
and a large redundancy for exportation ; and that 
the said trade has in a period of twelve years arrived 
at its present flourishing condition by the bounty and 
encouragement given it by the Native Parliament of 

The fishermen of Donegal, who serve as a nursery 
for our ships of war, are at present in sad want of 
encouragement in the prosecution of their dangerous 
avqpations. They complain, that, whilst the fisheries 
of Scotland are encouraged and fostered, they are 
allowed to take care of themselves as best tliey may 
without receiving any aid or assistance from the Go- 
vernment. At many places round the coast small 
fishery piers are required. The difficulty and labour 
of shoreing and launching their boats at these points 
prevent them from going out to sea, when there are 


strong indications of fish in the bay. A better de-' 
scription of boats and gear is also required, and which 
the fishermen are not able to procure without some 
encouraging hand to help them. The principal boat 
used in fishing by the Islanders of Torry is the cor* 
Tdghy which is made of wicker-work covered with 
tarred canvass. It is a very ingenious piece of naval 
architecture. It has no keel, and in the process of 
construction the order of procedure is the very op- 
posite of that used in the dockyards. The gunwale 
is laid down first, and consists of a flat oval frame, 
perforated with holes at regular distances, into which 
the ribs (stout willow rods) are inserted. Between 
these slighter willows are interwoven, so as to form a 
basket-work bulwark of about six inches in depth. 
The ribs are then brought together at the place where 
the keel ought to be, and being intertwined are 
strengthened by laths, crossing them from stem to 
stern, and each crossing fastened with horse hair. The 
frame thus made is then covered with horseskin or 
tarred canvas. The gallant ship is now ready to bear 
the dangers of the deep. 

There is no taft or beam in the curragh, but the 
crew must sit on the floor, and must remain perfectly 
steady, as a little lateral pressure, there being no keel, 
would upset it. Short paddles are used for oars ; and 
when there is only one in the boat he kneels at the 
bow, and with alternate strokes from side to side he 
guides the ship. They are very seaworthy, and can 
make the shore in a surf on the rocks^ when no other 


boat could venture. They are nine feet from stem to 
stern, three feet wide, and two feet deep, and are 
made for an expense of about thirty shillings. 

The fishermen along the coasts of Donegal also 
frequently complain that their rights to the high seas, 
given them by J/ajrna ChartOf are being oftentimes in- 
fringed on by by-laws and other laws, when there 
are no chartered rights, under pretext of protecting the 
salmon fisheries and an undue monopoly. 

The sea, as it requires no aid from human culti- 
vation, being undistinguishable by metes or bounds, 
and being inexhaustible by the only uses to which it 
can be converted, it seems inexcusable to allow to the 
appropriation of a few what Providence has so obvi- 
ously designed for the common benefit of all; and, 
therefore, in all ages and countries, with the exception 
of Ireland, it has been a general principle of law that 
all should have the right of fishing in it. One of the 
earliest writers on common law says : " By natural law 
all these things are common, flowing water, the air 
and the sea, and shores of the sea, as accessories 
to it, for no one is prohibited from going to the shores 
of the sea, provided he meddle not with houses and 
buildings, because by the law of nations the shores 
of the sea are common, as is also the sea itself;" and 
one of the greatest of our modern writers says, *' that 
to an action of trespass for fishing in an arm of the sea 
(and every water where the tide flows and reflows is 
called an arm of the sea), it is a good justification to 
say that the place where, etc., is an arm of the sea in 


-which every subject has, and ought of right to have, a 
free fishery. The only exception to this general right 
is where any one enjoys the exclusive fishery in 
some particular in a branch of the sea by pre- 
scription, that is, quiet, uninterrupted, undisputed 
possession from a period prior to the reign of Richard 
I. or Henry II. (Braeton, Hale and others). What a 
monstrous injustice it is, that the poor fishermen of 
the coast should be prevented by these unjust laws 
from appeasing their hunger with the creatures of the 
deep, which the Providence ofGod brings and carries 
to their very doors with the tides and seasons, twice 
every day, as if to meet their daily wants, and which, 
if not caught by them, may not be caught at all, 
making, in a word, the fishes of the sea a kind of for- 
bidden fruit. 

On the shores of Torry Island whales are often- 
times found disporting themselves in its waters. The 
seal is also a constant visitor, of which two different 
kinds are caught off" this Island — the/wr seal and the 
hair seal, the latter growing to a great size, one hav- 
ing been captured as large as a cow. Birds are also 
numerous, such as gulls, sea pyes, pigeons, curlew, 
perigrine falcon, kestrell and the sea eagle, the 
stormy petrel, chough, the starling, and the rail. 

AismQuniEs OP toeet. 

Torry appears to have been in ancient times the 
stronghold of the Femorians, or African Sea-kin t^s. 
By rolling back the pages of Irish history, we fijad 



among the first colonists, or settlers, in Ireland, men- 
tion made of Partholanus and his adventurous fol- 
lowers — about 300 years after the Deluge. He came 
from the shores of the Black Sea, and made his first 
landing in Kerry, in the south of Ireland. He after- 
wards, steering northwards, entered the present 
harbour of Ballyshannon, where he fixed his abode 
on a little island in front of the cataract, called Innis^ 
saimmer. This little island has taken this name, as 
the traditions have it, from a favorite dog of Partho- 
lanus. Landing on it hastily one evening, in a trans- 
port of furious jealousy, his dog came bounding 
down the rocks and fawned on him, when, in his 
passion, he struck the animal dead. Probably he 
wished to reach his tent in secrecy, and that the dog 
would betray him. We may trust that he discovered 
his suspicions to have been false, since he re- 
covered sufficient gentleness to feel remorse for the 
death of his four-footed friend; and burying his body- 
in the island, called it Innis-saimmer, in his memory 
— perhaps when he was quitting this quiet retreat 
for Howth, which he did after, it is believed, a resi- 
dence of some years. 

Partholanus, however, as we are told, was a 
double parricide, having killed his father and mother, 
before leaving his native country, for which horrible 
crimes, as the Bards very morally conclude, his pos- 
terity were fated never to possess the land. 

The second colonisation was that of the Neme- 
dians, their leader being called Nemedh. He and 


his posterity were constantly at war with the Femo- 
rians, the descendants of Ham, who had fled from 
Northern Africa to the Western Islands for refuge 
from their enemies, the sons of Shem. At length 
the Femorians prevailed, and the children of the se- 
cond immigration were either slain or driven into 
exile. The third immigration were the Firbolgs or 
Belgse, who were succeeded by the Tuatha de Danans, 
and afterwards by the Milesians, sometimes called the 
Gael, who came from Spain, under the leadership of 
the sons of Milesius. 

The Annals of the Four Masters tell us, that 
Conaing, one of the celebrated commanders of the 
Femorians, built a strong tower on Torry Island 
which was called Tor-Conaing. The Nemedians at- 
tacked this tower with an army of 60,000 men, both 
of lanci and sea forces, and fought a great battle with 
the Femorians. Such, however, was the confusion 
caused by the conflict, that, forgetting themselves, 
they allowed themselves to be surrounded by the tide 
(at Portadoon), when immense numbers perished. 
In this battle (A. M. 3066), Conaing was slain and the 
tower destroyed. 

The remains of Balor's Castle are also pointed out 
by the Islanders at the east end, at the promontory 
of Tor-mor, where the cliff" rises to the height of 280 
feet, which was in those early times the stronghold of 
one of the sea-kings of that name. 


68 balor's castle. 

baloe's castle. 

There is a legend connected with this Castle, which 
goes on to say, that in the olden tim^s there lived a 
certain king of Danish descent called Balor, who was 
the last chief of the race banished from the Northern 
main; and having an only daughter for whom he en- 
tertained a great regard, that he selected Torry as a 
discreet refuge where he built his castle. The Irish 
name Tor a reagh, signifies the King's Pinnacle or 
hiding place, from which some take the derivation of 
the name of the Island. Balor (of the mighty blows) 
and a distinguished leader of the Femorians, was 
killed by Lewy of the long hand, his own daughter's 

Besides these ancient memorials of the long-for- 
gotten past, there is near the port, as you enter the 
Island, one of those round towers of other days which 
have puzzled so much the antiquarians, in a very fair 
state of preservation. It is called Clocteach, or Belfry, 
by the islanders, which would go far to indicate its 
Christian origin. It is also of the same style of 
masonry as that of the adjoining monastery, which 
seems to ofier an additional argument. Dr. Petrie, 
in his very learned work on the ancient " Round 
Towers,'* gives a description of this round tower, with 
an engraving of its arched doorway. There are many 
theories sustained about the origin of the round tower : 
some say the Phoenicians erected them for templet 


that the Druids used them to proclaim their festivals ; 
whilst others ascribe them to a Christian origin with 
Dr. Petrie, mantaining that they were used for belfries 
and for keeps for the clergy, in which the Church 
plate was preserved, or to defend themselves from the 
fury of the Danes and the other invaders. 

Here was placed the holy chalice that held the sacred wine, 
And the gold cross from the altar, the relics from the shrine, 
And the mitre shining brighter, with its diamond, than the 

And the crozier of the Pontiff, and the vestments of the priest. 

In close proximity to the tower are the ruined 
foundations of the monastery, and the Seven Churches, 
founded by the great St. Columbkill. St. Ernan was 
abbot in this monastery in A. D. 650, (Mon. Hib.). 
Here also are observed the mutilated stone crosses, 
one of them bearing the effigy of the Redeemer, the 
baptismal font, the holy water stoup, and the sculp- 
tured slab known as St. John's altar. 

Sacred, however as this holy Island was, it did not 
protect it from the sacrilegious hand of the invader ; 
for we are told that Sir John Bingham, after destroy- 
ing the fine old monastery of Rathmullin, made a de- 
scent upon this Island, when after plundering it, and 
burning both its houses, and its religious buildings, 
he did not leave even a four-footed beast on the 

Yet, notwithstanding all this barbarism and deso- 
lation, there is one thing certain, that no sooner than 


you land on the Island but you feel that you tread on 
sacred ground, and the graves of the illustrious dead, 
the monastery, and the ruined churches, and the 
Christian memorials are about you ; you breathe their 
spirit, and the soul is filled, and the past comes back 
again — the monks are wandering in the cloister, the 
tower sends forth its chiming peals, and the church 
resounds with the praises of the Creator. 

There is neither Magistrate, Doctor, nor Lawyer, 
nor Priest, on the Island — but it is visited frequently 
by the Priest from the mainland ; and within the 
last few years, a very pretty and artistic church has 
been erected by the exertions of the respected P. P., 
the Eev. James M'Fadden, in the Pugin or mediaeval 
style of architecture. I remember well the day of its 
consecration, when a steamer came round from Derry 
largely freighted with passengers ; the orchestra was 
supplied by amateurs from Belfast, who appeared de- 
lighted to have an opportunity of making what they 
called a pilgrimage to the holy Isle. His Grace the 
Primate, then the Bishop of the diocese, was the 
consecrating Prelate, assisted by a large number of 
his clergy. 

. A graphic writer in. one of our periodicals de- 
scribes the great faith and intrepidity of the Islanders, 
if any of their children were in danger of dying 
without baptism — ** Consider a struggling boat with 
but a shred of sail, quivering at the stroke of every 
wave, the sky is rent, and the ocean is dashed on 
high by the howling gust, while the wild crew are 


gathered round the mast ; the face of the father, 
black as the storm, and the crouching mother bent 
over her dying child ; yet no one has died without 
baptism or the rites of the Church." 

Here then is found the fearless man, and the noble 
woman, the man whose spirit is as bouyant as the 
wave on which he rides, and the woman in whom the 
mould of nature hath been regained. 

What a fond affection the great S. Columbkille 
must have had for Torry and his beautiful Derry — 

I woald I were in Derry, 
Or in Gartan's native clay, 
Or in my cell in Torry, 
Surroanded by the sea. 

And now let me quote a few beautiful passages 
illustrative of his affection for Ireland from his bio- 
grapher, the great Montalembert : — " What a joy to 
fly upon the white-crested sea, and to watch the 
waves as they break on the Irish shore. Ah ! how 
my boat would fly if it were turned towards Erin. 
But the noble sea carries me only to Albyn, the land 
of ravens. From the high prow I look over the sea, 
and tears are in my eyes when I turn to Erin. To 
Erin where the songs of the birds are so sweet, where 
the young are so gentle, and where the great men 
are so noble to look at. Noble youth take my 
prayer with thee and my blessing, one part to Ireland, 
seven times may she be blessed, and the other part 
for Albyn. If death should come upon me on a 

72 lONA. 

sudden, it will be because of the great love I bear to 
the Gael." In speaking of Derry he says : — 

Were all the tribute of Scotia mine, 
From its midland to its borders, 
I would give it for one little cell 
In my beautiful Derry. 
For its peace and for its purity, 
For the white angels that go 
In crowds from one to the other 
I love my beautiful Derry. 

Beloved is Durrow and Derry, 
Beloved is Kaphoe the pure, 
Beloved the fertile Drumholm ; 
But sweeter and fairer to me 
The salt sea where sea gulls cry, 
When 1 come to Derry from afar 
It is sweeter and dearer to me. 

The same beautiful and graphic writer also sup- 
plied the following touching incident. ** One morning 
he called to him one of his monks, and said to him, go 
and seat thyself by the sea, upon the western bank of 
the Island (lona.) There thou wilt see arrive, from 
the north of Ireland, and fall at thy feet a poor travel- 
ling stork, long beaten by the winds and exhausted by 
fatigue. Take her up with pity, feed her and watch 
her for three days. After three days* rest, she is re- 
freshed and strengthened, she will no longer wish to 
prolong her exile amongst us, she will fly to sweet 
Ireland, the dear country where she was born. I bid 


thee care for her, because she comes from the land 
where I too was born." — The Monks of the West. 


In the early morning, or at the evening sunset, no- 
thing can exceed the magnificent prospect that opens 
on the view from Torry ; the opposite shores pre- 
senting a panorama of lakes and bays, cliffs, moun 
tains, and strands, extending from Malin Head to the 
Bloody Foreland, and all those, crowned by the 
monarchs of the mountain chain, Errigle and Muckish 
to which Sir Humphry Davy pays such a beautiful 
tribute (1806) : — 

Muckish and Errigle, ye pair 
Of mighty brethren, rising fair 

Amidst the summer evening's western light. 
Clouds might you be, so bright your hue, 
So dense your purple in the blue 

That ushers in the night. 

Were ye not motionless, your forms 
Unchanged by breezes or by storms, 

The same from day to day, from age to age ; 
Unaltered midst the wrecks of time. 
Scorning the giant's strength sublime, 

The whirlwind's and the lightning's rage ! 

Summer's wild heath blasts, winter's snows 
Disturb not your serene repose. 

Not, the mild influence of Spring 
Clothing the lowlands all in green, 
Creating round a joyful scene, 

Of change to you can bring ^ 


Not even the purple heath expands 
Its foliage over your blanched sands ; 

Your rocks alone the yellow lichen cover 
In palest tints, and o'er the space ye own 
No shapes of life are known, 

Save where the eagle hovers. 

His screams, the mountain torrent's sound, 
The mountain breezes whistling round, 

The distant murmurs of the western wave, 
Compose the music, wild and rude. 
Of your enchanted solitude, 

Else silent as the grave. 

The glens that, ranged around your feet, 
In grand confusion seem to meet, 

As with your parts to harmonize. 
While they your fountains drink, 
In kindred wildness sink, 

As ye in wildness rise. 


After spending a very pleasant and delightful day 
in Torry, rambling over the Holy Isle, and noting 
its antiquities, I was forced reluctantly to say fare- 
well — a word which makes us linger — and retire by 
way of Dunfanaghy, a distance of some fifteen miles, 
which gave me an opportunity of seeing the majestic 
cliffs of Homhead (600 feet), and that wonderful 
work • of nature, Mac Swine's Gun. At this point 
there is an opening in the face of the cliff, and when 
the sea is up or ruffled, it may be seen dashing 
against it with a force and effect that is grand beyond 

MAC swine's gun. 75 

description, the waves ascending in a column of foam 
some hundred feet high, playing with the clouds, 
and mocking the skies, forming a beautiful jet, and 
making a report that it is said has been heard in 
Derry ; thus perpetuating the name and the fame of 
the great Mac Swines (nat-tuagh), the Mac Swineys 
of the Territories or Districts 

An attempt is now being made by the Grand 
Jury of Donegal to tax the poor people of Torry 
with County Cess, from which they had hitherto been 
exempt from their insular position. This appears to 
be a monstrous injustice, and one which we hope will 
be resisted by his Islanders in every constitutional 
way. They derive no benefits from roads or bridges, 
as none are made for them on the Island ; and as for 
those on the mainland, they never travel over them, 
except when they are compelled to emigrate to dis- 
tant lands and fly from their native homesteads. 




The Abbey of Eas-roe (Eas aedh ruaidh), the Cata- 
ract of Red Hugh, is called fyom an ancient king of 
Ireland of that name, who was drowned in the sal- 
mon leap at Ballyshannon, many centuries before the 
Christian era. This Abbey, according to Allemande, 
was a daughter of that Boyle Abbey, County Kos- 
common, and was founded for Cistercian Monks in 
1 178, by Eoderick O'Cannanain, Prince of Tircon- 
nell. It was also amply endowed by the liberality of 
the O'Cannanains, the O'Maoldorys, and the O'Don- 
nells, and here many of their chieftains are buried. 
The Abbey of Asharoe was called by Latin writers, 
de Samaria — that is, of the River Saimir, the ancient 
name of the Erne. It is about half a mile from Bally- 
shannon. The abbots of this celebrated monastery 
had to a great extent the privilege in the extensive 
salmon fisheries of the Erne. But the Abbey, with 
its lands and fisheries, were all seized by the Crown 
in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The ruins of the 
Abbey still remain, surrounded by the silent ceme- 
tery of the sainted dead; and near the venerable 
old pile is a cave, on the banks of the Abbey River, 
which flows beneath them, where the priest cele- 
brated mass in the dark days of persecution — the 
Corrig an afrion. 


(1241). Donal Mor, son of Egnaghan 0*Donnell, 
Lord of Tirconnell, Fermanagh, and North Con* 
naught, as far as the Curlew Mountains, died in the 
monastic habit, and was buried in this Abbey with 
great honour and solemnity in this year, 

(1247). Maurice Fitzgerald and the English 
marched with a great force to Eas-roe, at the invi- 
tation of Geoffrey O'Donnell, and was opposed by 
Roderick O'Cannanain. 

(1450). This year Bishop O'Gallagher, of Raphoe, 
died, and Edmund, Abbot of Eas-roe, Ballyshannon, 

(1550). John, the son of Donal-roe O'Gallagher, 
Abbot of Eas-roe, died on the 29th of April in this 

( 1 599)' James, the son of Torlogh, son of Tuathal 
O'Gallagher, was hanged by O'Donnell on the top of 
the Sith (hill), above Eas-roe, on the 4th of March, 
after it was proved against him that he had been en- 
gaged in betraying and watching O'Donnell, and in- 
ducing the English to come into the country. 


was erected in 1423, by Niall, the son of Turlagh 
O'Donnell. It was afterwards, in 1496, taken from 
the guards of O'Donnell by Hugh, son of O'Donnell. 



Con, the son of O'Donnell, laid siege to the Castle 
of Ballyshannon, and Maguire marched at the request 
of Hugh to drive Con from the town, which he (Ma- 


guire) compelled him to do. Hugh and Maguire 
pursued him afterwards to Donegal, and burned part 
of the . town. Con, with the forces of Tirconnell, 
Ennishowen, and Darthry, turned on his pursuers, 
and followed them as far as Lough Derg, where, 
taking possession of the public road against them 
they were obliged to take to the bogs and woods 
where they lost no of their horses. In this engage- 
ment Maguire was defeated, and with twelve of his 
chiefs and others, was slain. 


In 1497, Con O'Donnell marched with an army 
against Mac Dermott — namely, Teague, son of Ro- 
derick Mac Dermott. He was joined by a few 
from Connaught — najnely, Felim, the. son of Manus 
O'Connor, the Lord of Carberry, and OwenO 'Kourke, 
Tanist of Breffny. An immense force was collected 
by Mac Dermott at the Curlew Mountains to oppose 
them. A large portion of O'DonnelFs forces, com- 
manded by the son of Manus O'Connor, Owen 
O'Rourke, and Niall Garv O'Donnell, forced the 
Pass of Beallachbudhe^ where Cathal O'Rourke, and 
many others, were slain. The great forces at Siol- 
Murray (Roscommon) rose up in the midst of the 
armies, and defeated O'Donnell ; and the following 
were taken prisoners: — Felim O'Connor, Lord of 
Carberry ; the two Mac Swineys, of Fanad ; Roderick 


and Owen M*Swiney, of Banagh ; Donagh na 
mordog (of the thumbs), the son of O'Donnell ; the 
two sons of 0' Gallagher ; the two sons of Mac 
Swiney, ofFanad; the two sons of Mac Swiney, of 
Banagh, Niall and Owen Eoe ; Gerald O'Doherty ; 
the Physician of O'Donnell, the son of Owen Uetach 
(Mac Dunlevie). The Caihach of Columbkille was 
captured, and its keeper, Mac Kobertagh, was slain, 
and many others were slain, or taken prisoners. 
Owen O'Kourke made good his escape in this en- 


This term signifies the Battler or belonging to 
battles, and was the term applied to a very curious 
metallic box containing a copy of the Psalms in MS., 
from the Latin Vulgate, written on vellum, and 
called the Psalter of Columbkille, and said to have 
been written by the saint himself in the 6th century. 
The Cathach is described in that learned work the 
Irish Antiquarian Researches^ by Sir Wm. Betham, 
who gives a plate of it, on which are inscribed 
several curious figures. It consisted of a brass box 
9J inches long, 8 inches broad, and 2 in thickness. 
The top consisted of a plate of silver richly gilt and 
chased, riveted to one of brass, and on it are figures 
of St. Columbkille, the Crucifixion, and other curious 
representations, on the corners and other parts were 
set crystals, pearls, sapphires, and other gems, and 
the cover contains several curious Irish inscriptions. 


This remarkable relique got its name from being 
carried as a military ensign before the forces of 
the O'Donnells in battle, and was considered to 
ensure victory. It was carefully preserved in that 
family, for many years, since the days ofColumbkille, 
who was the great patron Saint of the O'Donnells, 
and of the same descent as the celebrated chiefs and 
princes of Tirconnell. It is stated in the Anti- 
quarian Researches, that Colonel Daniel O'Donnell, 
an officer in the French service in 1723, for the 
better preservation of this relique, had a silver case 
made and placed round it, as mentioned in an in- 
scription engraved on the cover. This box was 
placed for inspection in the hands of Sir Wm. 
Betham for some time, and is now the property of 
Sir Eichard O'Donnell, who has deposited it for se- 
curity in the Eoyal Irish Academy. 


When the Lord Justice Borrough was prepared 
to march into Tyrone against O'Neill, he sent a 
written despatch to the Governor of the province 
of Connaught, Sir Conyers Clifford, commanding 
him to march with all the forces he could muster 
to the western side of the province of Ulster against 
O'Donnell, while he should remain in Tyrone, which 


command was immediately attended to by the Gover- 
nor, for he sent for the Earl of Thomond, namely 
Donagh, the son of Conor, and for the Baron of 
Inchiquin, i. e. Murrogh the son of Murrogh ; for the 
Earl of Clanrickard, namely Ulick the son of Eichard ' 
Saxenach and his son Richard the Baron of Dunkellin. 
He also requested the gentlemen of the counties of 
Mayo and Roscommon to come with their forces, he 
commanded all the officers to meet him at the monas- 
tery of Boyle on the 24th of July, and that he him- 
self with his companies would be there before them. 
All these came at the appointed time, and the num- 
ber of those forces when they had met together, were 
22 colours of foot, and 10 standards of cavalry. 
From this they marched to Sligo, and afterwards by 
Bundoran to the Erne, where they formed a nume- 
rous warlike camp on the banks of Saimir of the blue 
streams (the ancient name of the river). Here they 
were so much elated that they imagined they could 
not be resisted by the entire strength of the province 
of Ulster. 

The forces of the Governor were up very early 
next morning to cross the river, but O'Donnell had 
guards at every ford. They got, however, the oppor- 
tunity at a very intricate one, Aiih cul vain (near 
the eel weir above the present bridge), and they 
lushed with all their energy and might into the ford. 
In the meantime the guards kept up an incessant 
fire against them, defending the ford as best they 


They could not, however, defend it long against 
the great and numerous forces opposed to them, so 
that the Governor and his army crossed over and 
arrived on the oppositeside. At this time a very la- 
menatble death took place, namely Murrogh, son of 
Murrogh, son of Dermod, son of Murrogh O'Brien, 
Baron of Inchiquin. He was on horseback in the centre 
of the river, outside his soldiers, protecting them from 
being drowned and encouraging them past him, but 
fate ordained it that he was directly aimed at by one 
of O'Donnell's men, who shot him through the arm-pit, 
when he fell and was drowned in the river. It is 
unnecessary to say that he was deeply lamented by 
both English and Irish, on account of his great rank, 
and his noble blood, although he was young in age ; 
and although by right his body should have been 
raised and buried with honours the forces did not 
wait for that purpose, but proceeded without halting 
to the monastery of Eas-roe. It was on the 31st of 
the month they arrived there and on a Saturday, so 
they remained there till the following Monday 

It was on Sunday while they were encamped at 
the Abbey that the ships arrived from Galway with 
the ordnance, large guns, and stores for the purpose 
of supporting them while they were to remain in 
that strange country. These ships cast anchor at 
Innis saimmer before Eas-roe (the island of Saimer 
in front of the waterfall at Bally shannon), where 
they landed the stores, leaving a sufficient guard to 
protect them. 


The ordnance was landed on Monday, and placed 
before the Castle of Ballyshannon. They brought 
their forces from the monastery to the top oi SithAodha 
(the hill of Hugh), opposite the fortress and about 
the ordnance. They continued firing on the castle 
during Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, with 
thick flashes of fire and red shot from loud roaring 
guns and their heavy ordnance, so that their re- 
soundings and echoing reports were heard in the 
vaults of the air far away from them. Large bands 
of their select warriors proceeded to the base of the 
castle, with engines for demolishing walls, having 
their bodies clad with thick strong iron armour, fine 
polished helmets on their heads, and completely guard- 
ed with bright round broad bucklers, and shields of 
hard iron to protect them against the shot from their 
enemies. It did not avail them, the attack they 
made on the fortress, and it was better they had not 
come on their journey, for they were assailed from the 
castle with thick showers of fiery shot from the 
planted and well directed guns and their very costly 
muskets, while others hurled down rough sided-rocks, 
immense heavy stones, beams and rafters which 
were placed on the battlements of the castle directly 
opposite the firing, so that the coverings which were 
on the demolishing party were no protection or de- 
fence to them. Great numbers of them were slain, 
while others were disabled by being deeply wounded, 
so that they did not wait to be shot at any longer, 
and having turned their backs to their opponents, 

F 2 


they were driven back to the camp, and the guards 
ot the castle continued firing after them so that a 
great number perished A party of O'Donnell's 
cavalry defeated the English cavalry, and it was not 
ascertained or recorded, all there that were slain or 
wounded between them, except O'Connor Sligo, who 
was wounded on that occasion, for he and O'Connor 
Roe, and Theobald of the Ships (Burke), were with 
the entire of their forces along with the Governor at 
the time. O'Donnell, however, was deficient of forces, 
and had only a few on the Saturday the Governor 
came to the country with the great army, his people 
and forces were mustering and collecting from all 
quarters to him, so that the greater portion of them 
arrived before the noon-day of Monday; Maguire 
and 0'E.orke came with their forces to him, and 
when those chiefs came together they did not allow 
the Governor or his forces much rest or quietness, for 
they carried on skirmishing, firing, conflicts, fighting 
and defeating attacks against the camp every day 
during the three days they had been engaged in 
their assaults on the castle. O'DonnelFs forces often 
drove the wings of the Connacian camp into its very 
centre, and they did not permit their horses to feed 
beyond the limits of the camp, neither did they let 
any hay or corn come to them, on account of which 
the Governor and his forces were in great distress, for 
although they wished to return, they were not able 
to face any common ford on the Erne from Cool 
Uisge (the narrow water), to Athseannaigh (at Bally- 


When the Governor, the earls, and the officers per- 
ceived the great danger in which they were, they 
held a council from the beginning of Wednesday to 
the break of day on Thursday, being the 15th of 
August ; so that the resolution they at length came to, 
in the early dawn, was to proceed directly onward, 
from the place in which they were at Sith Aodha to 
the turbulent, rough, deep, cold stream ofLeiCj above 
Eas-roe, which is called Cassannag Curaidh (the 
rout of the champions) ; and they advanced, in com- 
panies and parties, to that unknown and unfrequented 
place, unnoticed and unheard by O'DonnelFs forces. 
The stream was so strong and some of their forces so 
helpless, and their horses were so laden with their 
provisions, that an immense number of their men and 
women, and their weak and feeble people, of their 
steeds and horses, and of everything which they had 
with them, were carried down by the cataract of Eas- 
roQ to the sea. They left their ordnance and their 
stores of food and drink in the power of the Tircon- 
nellians on that occasion; but, however, the com- 
manders and officers of the force, and all of them 
who were efficient, crossed the Erne after great hard- 
ship and danger. The guards of the castle continued 
firing on them as fast as they could, and pursued 
them to the banks of the river in the hope of killing 
their enemies, and sent word to O'Donnell and his 
forces. When O'Donnell heard the report of the 
firing he and his forces immediately got ready, 
quickly put themselves in fighting order, and pro- 


ceeded to the river as expeditiously as they could. 
When the Governor's forces cleared the river they 
went into rank and order; but O'DonnelFs army pro- 
ceeded in pursuit of them across the river, not wait- 
ing to put on their armour, so anxious were they to 
be avenged of the forces that fled from them ; they 
continued shooting and cutting each other, from the 
Erne to the Moy Cedne, in the barony of Carberry, 
Sligo. The Governor and his forces went to Sligo 
that night, and on the following day to the Monastery 
of Boyle ; the Chiefs of Connaught returned to their 
homes, and the Governor to the town of Athlone. 
After this escapade, no doubt there was great re- 
joicing in the house of O'Donnell. 

I may here mention, that the body of the Baron of 
Inchiquin, soon after his untimely death, was taken 
from the river by Cormac O'Leary, one of the monks 
of the Abbey of Eas-roe, where it was buried by 
him with due honours and solemnity. It is said the 
body was afterwards exhumed and taken to the 
Franciscan Abbey of Donegal. 


Dun na gall, the Fortress of the Foreigners, it is 
said from a fortress erected there by the Danes. 
The ancient territory was called Tirconnell or the 
county of Conal, from Conal, brother of Eoghan. 
Conal was the son of Niall of the Nine Hostages. 
His posterity were called Connellians, and possessed 

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this territory, and their head chieftains were the 
O'Donnells. The other chieftains were the Mac 
Swjmes, the O'Doherties, 0*Boyles, O'Gallaghers, 
0*Gormlys, and the O'Brislands. 

Ked Hugh 0*Donnell had an army of 200'foot and 
60 horse, and his brother Eory 150 foot and 50 horse ; 
the three Mac Swynes had 500 foot and 40 horse ; 
O'Doherty 300 foot and 40 horse ; 0' Gallagher of Bally- 
shannon 200 foot and 40 horse ; and Sliocht Eory 100 
foot and 50 horse, in all amounting to 1550 foot and 
300 horse, under the command of O'Donnell. 


This castle was erected by O'Donnell, . Prince of 
Tirconnell, in 1474, and for nearly a century and a 
quarter after, that princely family resided in it. 
Through the treachery of Niall Garv O'Donnell, in 
1 60 1, it was surrendered to the forces of Elizabeth- 
But the famous Red Hugh, the friend of the great 
O'Neill, was in the pride of his youth and power then 
and the English held but an insecure footing in Ulster. 
Hugh besieged the castle, captured it, and left it a 
desolate ruin. It was again repaired, and became the 
scene of many a struggle between the Irish and their 
English foes. In the middle of the seventeenth cen- 
tury it was held for King Charles against the Parlia- 
mentarians. Ten years afterwards it was captured by 
the Marquis of Clanrickard and Phelim O'Neill, as- 
sisted by the septs of the Mac Mahons and the 
O'Reillys. Shortly after it fell into the hands of Sir 


Charles Coote. It forms now a very picturesque ob- 
ject on the banks of the Esk, and is kept in good 
preservation by Lord Arran. 

The Princes of Tyrone and Tirconnell fled from 
Ireland to Kome in 1607, where they died soon after, 
and were buried in one grave, on the Hill of St. 
Peter, where a beautiful monument is erected to 
their memory. 

The Hon. Mrs. Caulfield, the mother of the present 
Earl of Charlemont, who takes a just pride in her 
lineal descent, by the maternal side, from the O'Don- 
nells, has, with her great patriotism and benevolence, 
assisted largely in the restoration of this beautiful 
tomb of the celebrated chieftains. She has also 
evinced very decided interest in the restoration of the 
fine old ruined abbey at Donegal. The Flight of the 
Earls is immortalized by the Bard of the O'Donnells, 
Owen Koe Mac an Bhaird, who accompanied them 
into exile, in his ** Lament," addressed to Nualla, the 
sister of O'Donnell, who was also one of the fugitives. 
Most of our readers will remember the dirge, "Oh> 
Woman of the piercing wail ! " 

The following are the concluding verses : — 

What do I say I Ah, woe is me I 
Already we bewail in vain 

Their fatal fall. 

And Erin, once the great and free. 
Now vainly mourns her breakless chain 

And iron thrall ; 


Then, daughter of 0*Donnell, dry 
Thine oyerflowing eyes, and tarn 

Thy heart aside ; 

For Adam's race is bom to die, 
And sternly, the sepulchral urn 

Mocks human pride. 

Look not, nor sigh for earthly throne, 
Nor place thy trust in arms of clay ; 

But, on thy knees, 

Uplift thy soul to God alone ; 
For all things go their destined way, 

As He decrees. 

Embrace the faithful crucifix, 
And seek the path of pain and prayer 

Thy Saviour trod. 

Nor let thy spirit intermix 
With earthly hope and worldly care 

Its groans to God. 


This famous place of pilgrimage and penance is 
situate in the Co. Donegal, on the confines of Tyrone 
and Fermanagh. It is only a few miles from Pettigo, 
a station on the Enniskillen and Bundoran Eailway, 
being separated from it by a large tract of unculti- 
vated and desolate moorland. This lake is about 
three miles long, by two and a half miles broad. It is 
dotted over with islands and rocks, and is surrounded 
by hills of mica slate from seven to twelve hundred 
feet high. It was anciently called Derg ahban (the 
river of the woody morass), from a river which flows 


from it into the Erne. It was also called Fiofi loch, 
(the fair or white lake), and it is said to have received 
its present name of Lough Derg, from a legend which 
ascribes to St. Patrick the killing of a monster, the 
blood of which tinged the lake a red colour. It was 
also called St. Fintan's Island, from a celebrated 
saint of the Connellians of Tirconnel in the seventh 
century. The history of this island and its anti- 
quities are recorded by many writers, among whom 
I may mention Giraldus Cambrensis, Mathew Paris, 
Camden, Ware, Colgan, Archdall, and Lanigan. 
A monastery was founded here, about the end of 
the fifth century (490), of the order of St, Augus- 
tine, by St. Dubeog. It was called Termon Dubeog, 
and was dedicated to SS. Peter and Paul. We often- 
times find it mentioned in " The Annals of the Four 

It continued to be of great note till the seventeenth 
century (1632); when, by an order of the Lords Jus- 
tices, the abbey and other buildings on the island 
were demolished. The friars were also banished 
from off* the island by Sir James Balfour and Sir 
William Stuart, who were deputed for this purpose. 
In a report made by Sir William, it is mentioned that 
he found on the island an abbot and forty friars, and 
that there was a daily resort of about 450 pilgrims. 
Sir William also informed the council, that in order 
to prevent the people any longer going on the island, 
he directed the buildings to be pulled down and de- 
stroyed ; and also that the place called St. Patrick's 


Bed, and the stone on which the saint knelt, should 
be thrown into the lake. 

He afterwards put a man named Magrath in- 
to possession, with an injunction to him not to per- 
mit, in future, either Jesuits, friars, or nuns to enter 
on it. Some of the ruins of the ancient abbey still 
remain ; and a plate is given in " Ware's Antiquities'* 
of the building. St. Dubeog himself is buried on the 
island. The place of pilgrimage and penance has, 
however, long since been transferred from the Saint's 
Island to the Station Island. And the hard beds of 
penance are dedicated to St. Patrick, Brigid, and 
Columbkille, to Dubeog and Adamnan. 

In early times, Lough Derg was one of the most 
celebrated shrines of penance in Europe ; and it was 
by no means uncommon for princes from foreign 
lands to leave their palace homes, in order to find 
rest for a troubled conscience by performing a pil- 
grimage to the Sainted Isle. 

In the sixteenth century, the Castle of Sligo was 
taken by O'Donnell, Hugh Oge, the son of Hugh 
Koe, after being a long time out of his possession. 
A French knight, who had come to perform a pil- 
grimage to St. Patrick's Purgatory, on Lough Derg, 
sojourned, on his journey to and from the island, in 
the house of O'Donnell, where he received respect 
and hospitality, and presents, by which they formed 
bonds of friendship with one another. 

When the knight was informed that the Castle of 
Sligo was defended against O'Donnell,. he promised 


to send to his aid a ship with large guns. The ship 
afterwards arrived in the spacious harbour of Killy- 
begs, from which it directly sailed to Sligo, whilst 
O'Donnell was proceeding with his forces by land. 
The town was destroyed by them before they got 
possession of it (the castle), and O'Donnell gave full 
pardon to the garrison. 

It is recorded in " Eymer's Foedera," that, so early 
as the year 1358, King Edward III. granted to Ma- 
latesta Ungarus, an Hungarian Knight, and to Nicho- 
las de Becario, a nobleman of Ferrara, in Italy, a safe 
conduct through England, to visit this pilgrimage. 
And in 1397, King Richard II. granted a like con- 
duct to Raymond Viscount de Perilleaux, Knight of 
Rhodes, with a train of twenty men and thirty horses. 
Besides Lough Derg, we find many other places 
resorted to for the purpose of pilgrimage and pen- 
ance. The most celebrated were — Armagh ; Down- 
patrick and Derry ; Columbkille ; Croagh-Patrick, 
County Mayo ; the Isles of Arran, off the coast of 
Galway; the Seven Churches of Glen-da-loch and 
Cluen mac noice, Kildare of St. Brigid, and Holy- 
cross in Tipperary. We are also informed that some 
of the kings of Ireland made pilgrimage in former 
days to the celebrated Monastery of lona, founded 
by St. Columba. 

Aulaf v., who ruled over the Danes in Dublin 
for thirty years (981), retired to the Abbey of St. 
Columbkille, at lona, where he soon after died in 
penitence and pilgrimage. He was married to the 


sister of the King of Leinster, who, after the death 
of her husband, become the wife of Brian Boru. 

Several of the kings of the race of Niall also made 
pilgrimages to this ancient monastery, where they 
died, and over their tomb is the inscription " Tumu- 
lus Regum Hibemiae.'' 

Many of the Irish princes and chieftains also made 
pilgrimage to the Shrine of St. James, at Compos- 
tella in Spain, in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries ; 
whilst others repaired to Eome and the Holy Land. 

Yes, and whilst the injunction remains, " unless 
you do penance, you will all likewise perish," Lough 
Derg, and these other holy shrines, shut out from the 
busy world, will always be made the resort of the 
pilgrim. Connected with the pilgrimage of Ray- 
mond, the Count de Perilleaux, to Lough Derg, 
there is a terrible tragedy recorded, where we find 
him murdered at the very altar in his cell whilst per- 
forming his devotions : 

By flood and field, by wood and fell, 
In desert wild, or hermit's cell. 
In camp or court, in hall or bower, 
At day's broad noon, or midnight hour, 
On mountain top, or flow'ry lea. 
Or where in prayer he bends the knee ; 
Aye, even before the holy shrine, 
I'll claim him there, his blood is mine. 

The tradition goes on to say : — " It was a beautiful 
evening in the autumn of 1397, and the flood of rich 


yellow light from the setting sun bathed the wooded 
shores of Lough Derg, tipping with gold the waves 
on its surface. At this time the naked hills which 
now surround the lake were covered with majestic 
woods of oak and beech, and fringed with a thick 
copse of brushwood to the water's edge. 

" The little island on which was situated St. Pa- 
trick's Purgatory, lay about a mile from the shore, re- 
sembling some dark spot in the midst of flowing 

*' The ferryman was reposing on a grassy knoll at 
the verge of the lake, waiting to ferry over the pil- 
grims as they made their appearance. While he thus 
lay, with his breadth (cap or bonnet) thrown over 
his eyes, to keep off the rays of the sun, a pilgrim, 
toiled and travel-stained, arrived at the bank, and 
stood beside the unconscious ferryman. He was a 
fine tall young fellow, clad in the usual garb of 
a religious wanderer of the period. His face was 
thin and pale, but full of life and animation. He 
was clad in the humble garments of a palmer, yet 
his mien and motion were those of one used to asso- 
ciate with the proud and noble. After a little the 
pilgrim pointed with his staff towards the island, as 
if indicating a wish to be ferryed over. On which 
the ferryman directed his attention to the setting 
sun, as an intimation that the hour had passed, and 
then pointed to the cottage at the end of the wood, 
plainly intimating to the pilgrim that he should 
be content with a share of the shelter and hospitality 
of his humble roof till morning. 


** The Stranger bowed in thankfulness, laying the 
forefinger of his right hind impressively on his 
lips, and raising the other towards the blue vault of 
heaven. He then crossed both with an expressive 
gesture on his breast, and hung down his head 
in silence. 

" • Ay, ay!' uttered the boatman in an undertone ; 
'a vow to hold his peace, some terrible crime to 
be atoned for by the severity of the penance ; and in 
one 80 young, too.' And with a glance upwards of 
astonishment and thankfulness to heaven, he led the 
way to his cabin. The evening sun had gone down 
behind the western hills, and the gloom of coming 
night was darkening the deep brown woods. The 
song of the robin and the thrush was hushed, and 
the pilgrim was seated beside the cheerful hearth 
of the ferryman, silent and motionless, and wrapt up 
in the shadowy stillness of profound meditation. 

" On a sudden, however, the ferryman was startled 
on hearing the notes of a bugle-horn, which came 
pealing from the woods. He started to his feet, for 
such sounds were seldom heard on the peaceful shores 
of the Lake of Penance; and on going out he observed 
a train of horsemen issuing from the woods. 

" The person who rode in front, and who appeared 
to be the chief, was mounted on a beautiful charger 
of the true Arabian breed. He was dressed in black. 
A mantle of velvet, lined with silk, depended from 
his shoulders, under which he wore a doublet of fine 
cloth, braided with twisted cords of silk, and fitting 


closely to the body. He also wore a broad-brimmed 
hat, from which drooped a solitary black feather, 
shadowing features proud, stem, and repulsive in 
their expression. The rest of the attendants were 
clad in much the same fashion, except a few, who 
were fully equipped and armed. They appeared as 
if after a long journey. They were evidently men 
from a foreign land, for they used much gesture, and 
spoke in a strange tongue. Tents were immediately 
pitched on the shores of the lake, and fires lighted, 
and a hurry and bustle continued among the stran- 
gers till a late hour, and a strict guard was placed 
on the pavilion of him who appeared to be their 

** Shortly after the noble chieftain embarked for 
the island, and without an attendant; on reaching 
which he hurried for the cell at which Raymond de 
Perilleaux was making his devotions. He advanced 
with a rapid and quick movement, till he came 
within a few feet of the holy shrine, at which he found 
him. He then called out in a loud exclamation : — 

** * We have met here alone, and face to face at last, 
Raymond, Count of Perilleaux ! can you pray to Hea- 
ven ? you with the blood of innocence crying to that 
Heaven for vengeance against you. Can you ask 
for pardon, or hope for mercy, whose heart was 
closed against the pleading of the virtuous and the 
innocent ? can you hope for peace, while my vow of 
revenge is unpaid? and the dagger yet unstained 
with thy blood ? Raymond of Perilleaux, know you 


CnHsea Ln dl^HcoliukUle— 


not that while I lived, my life was devoted to your 
destruction, now, say your last prayer," drawing his 
blood stained daororer — 

** ' Mercy ! mercy ! Ugolino ' " uttered Raymond in 
a trembling and distressed voice. It was all soon 
over, he raised up the dagger, and buried it to the 
very hilt in the heart of the wretched count. 

*' The murdered victim never groaned, his lips were 
seen to move in prayer, he staggered forward a few 
paces, and fell heavily against the steps of the little 
altar where he expired." 

Lough D*erg is still resorted to, in the summer 
months, by pilgrims from all parts of Ireland, some 
come from England, and Scotland, and from America. 
It is under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Clogher, 
who sends his priests there to administer the sacra- 
ments of penance and Eucharist to the humble peni- 
tents who throng its ghores. Some 15,000 persons 
visit it for these holy works every season. 



Nothing can be more cheery than the drive from 
Killybegs, on a fine summer's morning, along the 
beautiful line of coast, to Glencolmkille ; which 
never fails to give a buoyancy to the spirits and an 
elasticity to the frame, which are of a most refreshing 
and invigorating character. Who is there doomed 



for a time to the daily rounds of city life, or accus- 
tomed to the dull monotonous sounds of level plains, 
such as we meet with in many parts of England, that 
does not feel himself both physically and mentally im- 
proved by the change of scene, and by the pure fresh 
atmosphere of these grand and sublime places of 
nature. Indeed I must acknowledo^e — 

rm not romantic, but upon my word, 

There are some moments, when we can't help feeling 

As if the heart's chords were so strongly stirred, 

By things around us, that 'tis vain concealing ; 

A little music in the soul still lingers. 

Whenever the keys are touched by Nature's fingers. 

The tourist to the wilds, soon after he has emerged 
from the town, generally takes a lingering look 
behind, " to that dear land he was leaving.'* And, 
indeed, nothing can be prettier from the heights at 
this point, than the view of Killybegs, seated like a 
Queen on her throne, with its noble and unrivalled 
bay, reposing in all its calm beauty, under the shelter 
of the grotesque hills around it, of which it may be 
said that, outside the bay, the billows may rage and 
roar, but — 

Within the waves in softer murmurs glide, 
And ships secure, without their hawsers ride. 

After a little, he obtains a view of Fintra, the 
residence of Mrs. Hamilton, which forms an exceed- 
ingly pretty picture in the landscape. Fintra House is 
well protected from the northern gale, by a thick plan- 


tation of firs, and the dark mountain range of Cranrady 
which rises up behind it to the height of 1400 feet. 
Whilst in front, is the rabbit warren, which comes up 
to the very door, and the sandy beach stretching out 
till it meets the Atlantic, which is always breaking 
over it in silvery surges : — 

It rolls and foams, and rolls and foams for ever. 

After passing Fintra (the fair or smooth strand) 
there is a fine view of the Donegal Bay, with the 
islands of Innisduff and Innismurray, and the now 
famous Rynn of Largy where, whilhom, our friend 
Condy M'Ginnishas taken many a fine salmon. 

Condy, however, has had a narrow escape from the 
intricacies of the law, for whilst he was planning how 
to get the salmon into the meshes of his net, others 
were on the look-out to get Condy into the meshes 
of the law. He was summoned before the Bench at 
Killybegs, and fined in a penalty of fifty pounds, lor 
fishing on what is called half tram, and which the 
magistrates were desirous to constitute a fixed engine. 
And this was the more intolerable, from the fact that 
the Bench had no jurisdiction at all in the case. 
Condy, however, soon afterwards, had the satisfaction 
of getting this decision reversed with costs, by his 
worship the Assistant Barrister, after a very conclu- 
sive and elaborate argument from counsel. So he 
returned home from DoViegal, with a light heart to 
pursue again his fishing avocations. Jt is to be 
hoped that Mr. Heron, the patriotic member for 

G 2 


joo ST. kierak's well. 

Tipperary, in his new fishery Bill, will introduce 'a 
clause that will give protection to so deserving a 
class as the hardy and adventurous fishermen of our 
coast. As soon as the tourist has reached a place 
called Bawinhe will perceive that the scenery begins 
to culminate in a panorama of great beauty. 

Here there are two roads diverging at different 
points to the " Wilds," one of them along the coast 
by Mucross and Alta tairibhy the other the mail car 
route, by Gort-na-cuileach (the field of the cocks), 
and Drimnajingla (the hill of fratricide), both of 
which present views of exciting interest. At Bawin, 
in former days, was one of the strongholds of the 
Mac Swineys of Banagh, the fort on which the castle 
stood being still visible. It was here, according to 
Mr. O'Donovan, that Fearfadha, son of Turlough 
Meirgeach Mac Swiney, died in 1583. There is 
also a holy well to be ^Q^n at this place, at the verge 
of the road, dedicated to St. Kieran. 

And on a height in the centre of the stock farm, is 
observable a large stone, called Clock stuccan, or the 
liberty stone, which is said to have marked the 
boundaries of the liberties of the Corporation of 
Killybegs at the time of the plantation of Ulster. 
Looking up at the cottages, perched on the side ^f 
the mountain, «ome one may exclaim : — 

Happy the man, whose "wish and care 
A few paternal acres bound ; 
Content to breathe his native air 

In his own ground. 


After proceeding a little further on his route, and 
passing the mill at Leter, there is a fine view obtained 
of the town of 


which is romantically situated in a deep gorge or 
glen, at the meeting of two noisy little rivers, which 
are constantly fretting and brawling around it. 

Just as you enter the town you observe the hospice 
of the respected parish priest, the Eev. Patrick 
Logue, in immediate proximity to his chapel. And 
in the opposite end of the town, on a rising ground 
where the old road crept in former times, are the 
crumbling remains of an old ruined church called 
Cille chartkadfi^ from which the present town of Kil- 
car derives its name. 

There appear, indeed, but very few signs of any im- 
provements having been made in this town — I might 
say, since the days of the great OUamh Fodhla. 

From the west end of the town the road to Carrick 
pursues the even tenor of its way along the valley of 
the Ballyduflf river, till it crosses the bridge, when it 
proceeds up a steep acclivity, through an extensive 
tract of moorland. After, however, it has reached 
the top of the hill, a glorious prospect soon opens on 
the view, for beneath us we behold, nestling in the 
valley, the picturesque and beautiful village of 


with the giant monarch of these mountain lands, 
Sliabh-liag, rising in all its magnificence, and the 


fitful clouds casting their shadows along its sides in 
all their everchanging variety. 

What pencil can thy beauties tell, for here 
All that creation's varying mass assumes. 
Of grand and loTely, both aspires and blooms, 

Bold rise thy mountains. 

The traveller generally rests for a few days at 
the very comfortable hotel kept by Mrs. Blain, in 
order to have time to explore all the wild scenery 
around it. 

I presume it is from the kind attention that one 
meets with at this hotel, and at Killybegs and other 
places, that some one has said : — 

Whoever has travelled the world around, 
Whatever his journeyings may have been. 

Must sigh to think he still has found 
The warmest welcome in the inn. 

Lately there has been a splendid addition made to 
this hotel by the Messrs. Musgrave, of Belfast, which 
will afford ample accommodation to the numerous 
tourists to the wilds. It is to be called the Glencolm- 
kill Hotel. I am also informed that as soon as the 
necessary arrangements can be made an excursion 
steamer will be brought into requisition, in connexion 
with the North-Western Railway, for the summer 
and autumn months, when a through ticket will be 
established with London, and intervening places, to 
transfer the visitors by rail from the beautiful scenery 


of Lough Erne, and the very popular watering place 
of Bundoran (the Brighton of the north), to some of 
the grandest cliff and mountain scenery in the world. 
This steamer, when not engaged in the tourist traffic, 
could find useful employment in towing vessels over 
the bar to Ballyshannon. What a pity it is that 
something is not done to improve the harbour at 
Ballyshannon, which appears to be the key to the 
commerce of so many counties, but especially those 
of Donegal, Leitrim, and Fermanagh. 

And all this, in our estimation, could be accom- 
plished by the construction of a ship canal over a 
small neck of land of about two miles in extent, from 
the sea at Bonatroughan to a point called the General's 
Boat House, inside the present harbour. This would 
effectually avoid all the danger of shifting sand which 
has so long formed an obstruction to the trade and 
commerce of the town. If this were once done then 
we might expect to behold the magnificent water- 
power of Lough Erne turned to useful account, and 
the banks of its beautiful river studded over with 
factories, enabling it to compete, as it ought to do, 
with either Belfast or Derry. 

No doubt but under the fostering care of a Home 
Government, that would feel an interest in the pros- 
perity of the country, all this would be soon ac- 



Land of the forest and the rock, 
Of dark blue lake, and mighty river ; 
Of mountain raised on high to mock 
The storm's career, and lightning's shock ; 

My native land for ever. 

The late Earl of Carlisle it was, when on a tour 
through the Donegal highlands, in describing the 
scenery of this part of the coast, paid it the compli- 
ment to call them the " Matchless CliflEs." 

Sliabh-liag, which derives its name, not from the 
flags which are found on it, as erroneously stated, 
but from its grey appearance, partakes of the cha- 
racter of a clijQF as well as a mountain. And taken 
in the former sense, it is undoubtedly one of the 
grandest cliffs in Europe, rising up vertically from 
the sea like a wall to the height of 2000 feet — 

Such cliffs like giants stand 
To sentinel an enchanted land. 

It is easily ascended from the road at Teeling by 
means of a winding pathway constructed by Mr. 
Thomas ConoUy, M. P. for Donegal, which conducts 
the tourist by easy stages to the fop of the moun- 
tain. On reaching which a glorious and magnificent 
prospect opens on the view which I might venture 
to say is not excelled by any other in Ireland. The 
late Smith O'Brien, when looking around him from 
it, could not restrain himself from calling out for 

ONE man's path. 105 

three cheers for the liberty of Old Ireland, and 
making use of the words of the great O'Connell, 
when standing on the Calton Hill, and surveying the 
prospect before him, he exclaimed, ** This indeed is 
a country worth fighting for/' 


Before us is the Donegal Bay in all its beauty, 
bounded by the sand-hills of Bundoran, and a blue 
range of mountains; whilst more to the westward are 
Nephin, the Twelve Pins of Connemara, and the Stags 
of Broadhaven. Westward still stretches out the 
** wide unbounding sea," which has carried on its 
bosom many ol the fair sons and daughters ofTir- 
connell to the home of the brave and the free, in far 
off lands. Whilst inland, we observe Glen Head and 
Sliabh a tooaidh, with the Islands of Arranmore and 
Torry, with the Bloody Foreland in the far off dis- 
tance ; when at length 

The increasing prospect turns our eyes, 
Hills upon hills, and Alps upon Alps arise. 

Near the summit of the mountain are the remains 
and debris of the ancient Church of St. Aodh Mac 
Breacon; and at the base of the mountain, where the 
Teeling river meets the sea, is a holy well called 
Tuhhar na mban, the well of the holy women, ' near 
which was the site of a convent. 


At the southern extremity of the mountain is what 
is commonly designated the One Man's Pass, which 


some, in their hardihood and love of adventure, do 
not fail to explore. 

I humbly acknowledge I did not muster up the 
courage to venture over the fearful path, nor to peer 
from its dizzy height. The very idea of crossing 
it actually unnerved and appalled me. Yet, I have 
stood, without fear, on the Table Rock at the Falls 
of Niagara, looking down on the world of waters, 
and have penetrated unabashed into the " Cave 
of the Winds;" I have stood on the Tower in the 
very centre of the Falls, on the edge of the cliff, 
and have peered down into the seething and boiling 
cauldron — into the sea of milk-white foam ; 1 have 
gone into the spray in the " Maid of the Mist ;" 
yet, I have shrunk back, as it were instinctively with 
fear to cross over this perilous pathway on Sliabh- 


I remember some years ago when, in company 
with a few friends, I was caught in a thunder storm 
on the very top of the mountain ; pending which, 
we made a speedy retreat to the shelter of a valley 
below. I need not say that it presented a scene of 
terrific grandeur and sublimity. At first the descend- 
ing volumes of dark vapour came sweeping over the 
crest of the mountain, covering it as it were with a dark 
pall, bringing in its train the forked lightning, the loud 
thunder, and the pelting rain — shaking the firm 
foundations, and reverberating among the echoes 



of the everlasting hills. Afterwards it began to 
subside and to sink into the valley. Then again 
appeared the bright flash in the heavens. After a 
little over the zenith, all was clear and calm, and 
became hushed, and nature assumed its wonted 


Some there are who not wishing the fatigue of 
climbing the mountain, content themselves with a 
visit to Bunglass (the green bottom), from which I 
must admit a magnificent view is had, of the un- 
tamed and unchiselled face of this grand mural 
precipice. This is a favourite spot for a picnic party, 
and a more secluded or beautiful spot is not in 

If the weather, however proved favourable in the 
beautiful sunshine and calm, or with the wind blow- 
ing gently off the land, I would by all means recom- 
mend the tourist to engage a boat at Teeling, which 
a party of four could obtain for the day, for a small 
consideration of three or four shillings each, which 
would convey them into the caves, and along by the 
cliffs to Malinbeg, which constitutes one of the 
grandest little excursions imaginable. 


The tourist to the wilds will not surely fail to 
pay a visit to this enchanting spot, where Nature 
unfolds her charms in no scanty form. Should he 


not venture on the unfathomed deep, he will at all 
events pay it his respects by land, which will aflford 
him mountain and coast views that will amply repay 
him for his journey. Malinbeg is charmingly situ- 
ated on the seashore, looking out on the dark blue 
sea, with a population of some 400 souls. The in- 
habitants are very intelligent and are said to be 
of Spanish extraction. 

After passing the village, there is a very pretty 
sandy nook, called Traidhhan (the white strand), 
secluded and beautiful, where the visitor finds him- 
self shut out entirely from the outer world, with 
nothing but bluffs around him, which rise to the 
height of two or three hundred feet, outside which 
the fisherman plies his dangerous avocations. From 
this he will. make a detour to the little harbour, 
where the boats are moored, called by the fantastic 
name of the Uig, one of the prettiest little harbours 
in nature. 

Inside the harbour standing up from the placid 
waters, are two immense masses of rock, one of them 
in the form of a round tower, which throw a grace 
and beauty round its other attractions. Before this, 
however, at the approach of a storm the fishermen 
were obliged to shore their boats, by lifting them up 
a steep precipice, which was always attended with 
much labour. Now, through the kindness of their 
landlord, Mr. Musgrave, they have been supplied 
with a windlass, which renders the work comparatively 
light and easy. At the end of the peninsula is one 


of those Martello Towers, which are so numerous on 
the coast of Ireland ; and some three miles to sea, the 
beautiful little island of Rathlin O'Byrne, with its 
lighthouse and many other objects of interest for the 
tourist and antiquary. 

All around the coast of Donegal we do not know 
a prettier spot for the erection of an hotel than at 
this delightful little village of Malinbeg ; and when 
the tourist traffic will have been more fully de- 
veloped, and the system of coupons established, such 
as we have met on the Continent, there does not ap- 
pear anything impracticable in its erection. 

Pursuing our route along the line of coast, which 
exhibits itself in every variety of ravine, of reef, and 
headland, we arrive at Malinmore, with its coast- 
guard station, where the surrounding scenery is of a 
very sublime and beautiful character. At Malin- 
more there is a very quiet little hotel, kept by 
Miss Walker, where the visitors receive every com- 
fort and attention. 

Among the traditions current with the peasantry 
here, there is one of a very interesting character, 
which records that the fugitive king, " bonnie Prince 
Charlie," spent a considerable time at this place, at 
the house of Robert Hamilton, before he effected his 
escape to France in 1746. During his stay in the 
glen, it is said of him that he was one night at Mee- 
nacrosh ; where the fine old Celtic tongue was so 
generally spoken that the young girl of the house 
had a difficulty in making known to the Prince that 


hi& room was ready for him for the night. Having 
succeeded, however, she began to soliloquize with 
herself in the following manner : — 

" There you are, bonnie Prince Charlie ; and there 
happens not to be, in all Meenacrosh, as much Eng- 
lish as will be able to arouse you in the morning 
from your slumbers." 

I tell thee, Culloden's dread echoes shall ring 

With the bloodhounds that bark for thy fugitive king. 

Lo ! anointed by heaven, with the vials of wrath, 

Behold where he lies in his desolate path ; 

Now, in darkness and billows he sweeps from the sight, 

Kise ! rise ! ye wild tempests, and cover bis flight. 


As we proceed further along the coast towards the 
glen (Sean Gleann), as it is called, we soon obtain a 
very sensational and magnificent view of the bold 
promontory of 


rising majestically from the sea to the height of 800 
feet, with its rugged and chafed cliffs, and its Martello 
Tower, forming a very pretty picture. 

On climbing up the steep ascent of Cruach a 
Chullain^ which terminates abruptly in this beautiful 
headland, the tourist will observe near the winding 
pathway, on which he is journeying, a holy well, 
sacred to the memory of the great St. Columbkille, 
and the stone bed where he used to retire for rest 
and prayer. Near the well is an immense pile or 



ASTo:*, LrNOX 



j THE t:cv/ 


lUUi^^^ L.^ 


ASTO-^, I. 


A LLji^ .4 1 .w/^ 



caime of stones, left there by the pilgrims, as a me- 
morial of their visit. Further on, as we penetrate 
along this iron-bound coast, we fall in with, quite 
unexpectedly, that extraordinary projecting cliff', 
which gradually discloses its beauties to the spec- 
tator, designated 


and by the Irish speaking population of the glen 
camas binne (the bent cliff). 

This beautiful serrated 0113" is observed project- 
ing into the fathomy deep from the mainland, with 
which it is connected merely by a narrow neck rising 
up steeply on both sides, and terminating at the top 
in a sharp edge. Beyond this the peninsula widens, 
and attains the height of 850 feet. It is here the 
daring adventurer, nothing intimidated, plies his 
trade in gathering samphire; and in these abodes 
the sea eagle finds its fitting eyrie. 

Here and there, on the northern slope of this 
wonderful cliff*, are patches of verdure, which serve 
to impart a kind of relief to this otherwise sterile, de- 
solate, and weather-beaten precipice. 

Beyond the Sturrell, as the traveller still wends 
his way, he meets with the Saw-pit, Tor Mor, and 
a tremendous ocean of precipitous cliffs and moun- 
tains, in some instances rising to the height of 1693 
feet above the level of the sea. 

Off" these terrible headlands, some few summers 
ago, whilst basking in its native sunshine and ele- 


ment, a large sun fish was shot by a young clergyman 
from Killybegs ; it weighed some 500 lbs. The sun 
fish is considered very valuable for its oil, which is 
all deposited in its liver ; but they are seldom captured 
by the fishermen. 


What beautiful and strikinrr memorials of Chris- 
tian Ireland do we find in her old ruined abbeys and 
churches, and in those beautiful stone crosses, " the 
symbols of redemption, which are found in her glens 
and on the hill top, at the way-side, and the market- 
place," which are so well calculated to remind even 
the unlearned of the mystery on Calvary and the 

Who that has seen the crosses of Kells and of 
Tuam, and Clonmacnoise and other parts of Ireland, 
so elaborate in their design and sculpture, but must 
at once feel within him, still lingering, the spirit of 
bygone days that haunts the greenest spot in me- 
mory's waste. 

And what beautiful specimens of the incised cross 
do we discover in these remote glens, which have 
been here since the days of St. Columbkille, and in 
the execution of which we observe so much inven- 
tive genius, and intricate scroll work. Among orr 
illustrations : — 

No. I is taken from a rubbing by W. H. Patter- 
son, Esq., Belfast, which appears to us a remarkably 
beautiful pattern, and considered unique. 

I t.;e kew yorx 

, Fobu: UBRARY 



No. 2 contains also copies of two crosses taken 
from rubbings by the same gentleman, which are 
also of fine character in design. 

No. 3 is from a sketch by Dr. James Moore, of 
Belfast, which gives both sides of the slab, and is 

No, 4 has two crosses on it; the one on the 
left, marked A, is found' convenient to Mr. Buchanan's 
hotel in the glen ; the other, marked B, is remark- 
able from the hole in the middle of it, of which 
the legend is told in connexion with the saint. 
These two crosses are also taken from sketches by 
Dr. Moore. 

The drawings of these crosses, and the scenery 
of the glen, have been all kindly furnished us by 
Dr. W. B. Pearsall, of Belfast, a gentleman well 
known for his artistic skill and archaeological taste, 
to whom, and to our friends Mr. Patterson and Dr. 
Moore, we have to make our best acknowledor- 
ments. . 

In many parts of Ireland we observe the cross 
erected in the market-place, at Clones, at Kells, at 
Cong, and at Letterkenny, which are intended to in- 
dicate the justice which should regulate all bargains 
with our fellow-man. 

We find those beautiful memorials of other days 
in many parts of Donegal, but more especially in 
the barony of Ennishowen. At Carrowmore, in the 
parish of Culdaff, the property of Mr. Stephens, of 
Ballyshannon, there are two remarkably fine speci- 



mens of the old Irish stone cross, near which are 
the ruined foundations of a once famous monastery. 
Since the days of Constantine the Great, who gained 
a signal victory over the tyrant Maxentius, by virtue 
of a cross, which, according to the historian Euse- 
bius, appeared visibly to him, and his whole army, 
in the air, of pure light, with the inscription — " In 
hoc signo vinces" — by this sign thou shalt conquer — 
the cross has been always held in respect and honour, 
and was made the most conspicuous ornament in the 
crowns of kings and princes. 


This beautiful Alpme Pass is on the road from 
the glen to Ardara and Glenties. 

It may be also approached from Carrick, both 
roads meeting and intersecting each other at a place 
called Croave. It is decidedly one of the grandest 
and wildest passes in Ireland ; and from my own ex- 
perience I may justly say of it : — 

IVe travelled in the east, 
I've travelled to the west, 
And have been to Alabama ; 

yet I have met with nothing to surpass it for its 
wild and natural beauty. 

The entrance to this magnificent pass is guarded 
by two high mountains of stern and rugged appear- 
ance, interspersed with brushwood and rocks, grey 
from very age. liawjhra^ on the right, rises up to 



AS7D?v. T.rNOX 
TII-DlIi^ i L'^.. NATION 


THE EXILK'S farewell, I 15 

the elevation of 1700 feet, whilst, on the left, Cruach 
a leirighe lifts up its broad shoulders 1400 feet igh. 
And between these the immense chasm yawns ! And 
from the top of the glen to the valley below, a cork- 
screw road brings the traveller down his perilous and 
devious way. In the winter season the torrents that 
rush down these precipices lend additional attractions 
to this lovely scene. And far away as we can see 
there is no human habitation, but all around a dismal 
waste of rock, where the storm king reigns at times 
in all his unabated fury. 

Wandering through these romantic glens, or ram- 
bling along the cliffs, looking out on the wide, wide 
sea, or resting on the heath-clad hill, it is not to be 
wondered the deep affection the unsophisticated 
children of the mountains retain for the loved place 
of their birth ; and, when forced to become exiles 
from their dear native land, that they should be found 
still looking back with so much enthusiasm to the 
little sheeling in the glen : — 

How I long for the sheeling, 
Hid up in the glen ; 
Ah I half my life I'd freely give 
To see it once again. 

How beautiful and full of feeling is the song of 
the exile, when bidding farewell to the home of his 
fathers : — 

Oh, Erin, mavourneen, how sad is the parting, 
Dear home of our childhood, for ever from thee ! 

How bitter and burning the tears that are starting. 
As we sigh a farewell to thee, Erin machree ! 

H 2 


Ranging through forests, whose beauty still changing. 
Makes the heart of the exile with rapture to glow, 

I think of the time when thy fresh mountains ranging, 
And the tear of remembrance is ready to flow. 

]My country,' my country, tho\ far from that loved earth 
Where I first drew breath, from these lips it should go, 

!My last sigh will be thine, darling land of my birth, 
My last prayer for thee, Erin, in welfare or woe. 


Killybegs to Kilcar, 6 j miles ; to Carrick, 9 miles ; 
to Sliabhliag, 12 miles; to Malinbeg, 16 miles; to 
the Glen, 16^ miles. Killybegs to the Gweedore 
Hotel, 40 miles. 


In a beautiful valley, looking out on the Bay of 
Fintra, and in the immediate vicinity of Killybegs, 
there exist some very extraordinary Cyclopean re- 
mains, -which have recently attracted the attention of 
quite a number of well-known antiquaries and savaiis. 
Amongst others who have been to explore them, I 
may mention Mr. M*Adam, of Belfast, a gentleman 
distinguished for his scientific and archaeological ac^ 
quirements ; and Mr. C. W. Dugan, the local Hono- 
rary Secretary of the Royal Archaeological Society, 
Derry. Cashelcummin appears to derive its name 
from Cashel, the habitation on the rock, and Cum- 

ST. CUMMIN. 1 J 7 

min, who, according to Ware, was a native of the 
county Donegal, and who probably had his cell here. 

The ancient name for Cashel was Cor siol; Cor, 
or Corrig, signifying a rock, and siol, a habitation. 

St. Cummin was abbot of the celebrated monas- 
tery of lona, in the seventh century. He was a man 
not only distinguished for his eminent piety and the 
sanctity of his life, but also for his great learning. It 
was he who caused the Western Church to ac- 
cept the Eoman mode of fixing the celebration of 
Easter, as appears from a famous letter of his to his 
successor at Hy. In the History of Ireland by our 
countryman, Thomas Moore, it is said — ** That the 
Abbot Cummin produced, on the Roman side of the 
paschal question, such an array of learning atid 
proofs as would entitle him to respect and admira- 
tion in any age. Enforcing the great argument from 
the unity of the Church, which he supported by the 
authority of the ancient Fathers, he passed in review 
the various cyclical systems that had been previously 
in use, pointing out their construction and defects, 
and proving himself familiar with the chronological 
characters, both natural and artificial." 

St. Cummin erected for himself a cell on the west- 
ern coast near Killala, at a place called Kilcummin, 
the ruins of which are still to be seen, and where he 
found his grave. It is said that a slab, with an Irish 
inscription, was some time ago carried off from here, 
which had served to preserve his memory, and 
mark out the place of his interment. 



The remains, or buildings, at Cashelcummin, con- 
sist of an irregularly-shaped oval chamber, and a 
partially- closed connecting passage, the sides and 
roof of which are formed of huge slabs of stone ; 
those composing the roof being almost level with the 
surface of the hill in which the chamber is excavated. 
The floor, which is at present covered with the debris, 
loose stones and brambles, must have been at least 
6 feet deep. The long diameter of the chamber and 
the passage have a direction due east and west. 

The western entrance opens right out on the side 
of the mound or hill, and is formed of two large, up- 
right stones, about 3 feet apart, with a present height 
above ground of 2^ feet. On these rests an enormous 
block, somewhat irregular in shape, and so supported 
on a mere knife edge on the south jambstone that it 
may be easily shaken or vibrated. The dimensions 
of the stone are 8 feet long, 5 feet 10 inches wide, and 
2 feet 10 inches in mean depth. The other stones 
forming the sides and roof are also of Cyclopean di- 
mensions. On examining the ground around it are 
observable traces of other buildings. It is said the 
causeway extends for some distance into the neigh- 
bouring garden, and that till lately the whole of the 
fort or cairn was surrounded by a wall. 

The remains undoubtedly carry with them all 
the evidence of a remote date, some connecting it 
with the time of the Firbolgs. Mr. M*Adam was of 

giant's grave near KILLYBEGS. 1 19 

opinion that they were sepulchral, and if the debris 
were removed, and some excavations made, that 
a cinerary urn might be found there. Many of these 
cairns were erected over the remains of some chief- 

On many acairn*s greypyra a {, 
Where urns of mighty chieftains lie. 

A popular idea prevails that these subterranean 
dwellings were used as retreats by the Danes after 
the battle of Clontarf, and that the natives, in order 
to banish those invaders, used to kindle large fires at 
their mouth, filling them with smoke, in order that 
they might come out, and meet them in open combat. 
Others held that they were used by the early inhabi- 
tants of the country to protect them from wolves 
and beasts of prey, with which Ireland was at this 
time infested, or as depositories for their grain and 
other property. Dr. Wilde says they are regarded 
by antiquarians as among the most ancient Celtic 
monuments in the world. 


At a distance of about two miles from Killybegs, in 
the direction of Drumanoo, and verging on the right- 
hand side of the public road, are ancient remains, 
commonly known as the " Giant's Grave." And when 
we look at the massive character of the slabs and 
rocks with which it is enclosed, and the dimensions of 
the grave itself, we cannot fail to admit the propriety 


of the name, and the attempt to connect it with the 
gigantic race of the Fingallians. Some there are who 
call it the Bed of Dermott and Granu, Leoha Dairmid 
agus Graine, from a legend which goes on to say 
that Fin, in his old age, made a proposal of marriage 
to Graine, the accomplished daughter of Cormac 
Mac Art, which was rejected by the fair one, who 
wished to give her hand to another. In order to 
accomplish her purpose, it is said she administered a 
drug to Fin, and a large party he was entertaining, 
which exercised on them its mysterious spell of send- 
ing them all asleep, the only exceptions being Oisin 
and Dairmid, to whom Graine explained the cause of 
her grief. As true knights, of course, they were 
bound to extricate her from the dilemma. This, 
however, Oisin could scarcely dare do, through fear 
of incurring the resentment of his father ; but Dair- 
mid at once betook himself off with the lady. A 
pursuit followed, which extended all over Ireland, 
from which, however, the fugitives always contrived 
to make their escape. These ancient remains are 
found in many parts of Ireland, and so deeply is 
this tradition engraved on the popular mind that 
they are pointed out as the resting-place of Dairmid 
and Graine. 

The Giant's Grave rests on the top of a rath or 
mound, from which there is a beautiful view of the 
coast, including St. John's Point, which extends for 
many miles into the bay. It is surrounded with 
seven irregularly-shaped slabs of Cyclopean proper- 


tions, deeply embedded in the soil, and runs in the 
direction of due east and west, with the appearance 
of an entrance at the east end. External dimensions, 
19 feet 6 inches long, by 9 feet 2 inches at the 
east, and 6 feet at the west end. One of the slabs 
measures above the ground 11 feet, by 2 feet 9 
inches. Not far from the grave, and in the same 
townland, is a fort or cairn, relative to which many 
opinions are given. Some maintaining that it is 
the debris or remains of an old castle; others that 
they are the ruins of some fortification. The most 
probable opinion, however, is, that they are sepul- 
chral, and raised to the memory of some chieftain 
who has been distinguished for his valour in war ; 
and, from the appearance of the entrance or passage, 
there are some grounds for tracing a resemblance 
with them and the Roman catacombs. 


About a mile and a half from Killybegs, on a 
height above the old road leading from Killybegs to 
Ardara, and not far from Mr. Ward's school-house, is 
one of those enormous blocks called a rocking stone, 
so numerous in different parts of Ireland. It is of 
Cyclopean dimensions ; yet notwithstanding, on ac- 
count of the small point on which it rests, it can 
be easily rocked, or made to vibrate. It is called Fin 
Mac CooFs finger stone, and is frequently an object of 
interest to tourists. In the vicinity there are some 
fine lakes for the angler. 




The visiter, whilst resting for a few days in the 
beautiful sunshine of Killybegs, will not surely forget 
to take a drive to St. John's Point, which will 
so amply repay him, not only from the fine views 
of coast scenery which it commands, but by the many 
objects of interest which he will meet with on the 
road. In a paper which lately appeared in the 
** Kilkenny Journal of Archaeology," from a friend of 
ours, Mr. W. H. Patterson, of Belfast, some very 
interesting details are given of the antiquities here, 
from which I take the liberty to cull a few stray 
notes for the tourist : — 

During a hurried visit to this district in August, 
1870, Mr. Patterson observes that he was in- 
formed by the parish priest of Killybegs of a curious 
cross-inscribed stone, at a place called the ** Relig," 
near Mr. Murray's, of the Milltown, and close to 
St. Conairs Well. The lady at whose house he was 
stopping undertook to guide him to the place, where 
he made drawings of the stones, and collected, then 
and afterwards, some particulars, which he thought 
might be of sufficient interest to put before the mem- 
bers of the Association. 

" The well and * Relig,'" Mr. P. continues to ob- 
serve, " are situated in a lonely part of the rather 
wide glen through which the Oyley Elver flows. 
They are on the left of the stream, and about a 
mile from the place where itfalls into the sea. They 

ST. conall's well and relig. 123 

are approached by a narrow lane leading off the main 
road to Donegal, and about three miles from Killy- 
begs. This lane is laid down in the Ordnance 
Map, in sheet 98, county Donegal, of the town- 
land survey, where the well is indicated by a 
minute circle. The well is surrounded by a low 
wall of uncemented stones. It is now small and shal- 
low, but the spring is copious, and the overflow 
forms a small rill which flows down the sloping 
ground to the bottom of the glen (not unlike St. 
Mary's Well at Tobermary, in the Scottish IslesV 
No thorn tree overshadows the little basin, but the 
brambles, which grow over and around, have their 
branches decorated with shreds of cloth of various 
colours, so many votive offerings to propitiate the 
genius of St. Conall by those who make a pilgrimage 
to it to pray for relief from bodily or mental ills. 

*'The popular belief is that St. Conall, who was 
one of the earliest Christian missionaries in Tircon- 
nell, early in the sixth century (probably finding this 
well an object of veneration among the Pagan inha- 
bitants), blessed it, and endowed it with healing 
powers, erected a stone cross near it, and established 
a church or oratory. Of the cross some fragment 
still remains— of the church not a trace, except in 
the significant name of 'Eelig/ still applied to a 
rugged patch some 50 yards distant from the well. 
As an additional proof that an early church existed 
here, it may be mentioned that a hullaun^ or primi- 
tive font, which was brought from the * Relig' within 


the memory of persons now living, is built into the 
corner of a fence in an adjoining field. It is called 
the Font. It is a massive block of stone, about 
4 feet and a half long and 2 feet wide, having a 
bowl-shaped hollow of about 12 inches diameter, 
sunk in one face of the stone near the end. The 
word Relig, in the Irish Eeilig, signifies a cemetery. 
Thus we find Reilig na riogh, the burial-place of the 
kings of Connaught, and Reilig Odhrain^ St. Oran's 
cemetery, at lona, where are deposited so many 
saints, kings, and abbots. 

" On entering the little enclosure known as the 
* Eelig,' the most noticeable objects are four or five 
low cairns of lichen-covered stones, rising above 
the rocky surface of the ground ; the largest of 
these cairns measured about 4 feet high, and is about 
6 feet in diameter. On the top, partly supported by 
the stones heaped about it, is a fragment of a stone 
cross. This cairn is called by the country-people 
the Altar ; and, on the occasion of my last visit, 
a poor woman was kneeling absorbed in prayer. 
She told us with much difficulty, for the paralysis 
from which she suffered affected the organs of speech, 
that she hoped and believed, with God's assistance, 
her health would be better for her visit to the 

" Leaning against one side of this cairn is a portion 
of a monumental slab, having an incised cross sculp- 
tured on both sides, evidence of a Christian inter- 
ment at this place. The slab measures 23 inches 


long, and 17 Inches wide ; the character of the 
design being diflFerent on the two sides, and, as it 
were, indicating the work of two distinct periods." 

After paissing the chapel of Killaghtee, and the 
hospitable residences of Samuel Cassidy, Esq., J. P., 
and Mrs. Barrett, at Bruckless, there is another 
relic of the olden time, at the old burying-ground 
of Killaghtee, which is thus described by Mr. Pat- 
terson : — 

** In a secluded spot, with wild and rugged sur- 
roundings, on the northern shore of the Donegal Bay, 
the stream known both as the Oyley and the Corker 
Eiver falls into the head of a rocky inlet called Mac 
Swyne's Bay, near which is the beautiful place called 
Bruckless — * Fort of the Badgers,' from broc^ a bad- 
ger, and lios, an earthern fort. It is about 3 miles 
and a quarter from Killybegs, and is in the parish of 
Killaghtee, barony of Banagh, county Donegal. The 
modern parish church of Killaghtee is situated close 
to the village of Dunkineely. The cemetery, which 
contains the ruins of the old church, with its east 
gable almost entire, is about half a mile distant, a 
little off the road leading to St.- John's Point, and 
nearthe shore of Mac Swyne's Bay (Sheet 31, Ord- 
nance Map). 

*' The name Killaghtee is said to be deriyed from 
kill, a church, leacht, a sepulchral monument, and 
aidhche^ the night — the Church of the Night Monu- 
mental Stone ; the story being that the original 
founder of the church had the site indicated to him 


by a stone cross, which was miraculously placed in a 
certain spot during the night. I was accompanied 
to the old graveyard by a friend well versed in the 
legendary lore of the district, and was pointed out 
the leacht^ the sepulchral stone, which gives the 
name to the parish. This massive old slab, grey 
and weather-beaten, stands near the centre of the 
graveyard. It measures 5 feet 10 inches in height, 
and 2 feet 8 inches wide. On the side facing the 
west a cross within a circle, of a very early type, is 
sculptured ; the lines are all incised ; the reverse of 
the slab is rough, and bears no sculpture. A short 
distance from the old cemetery is Mac Swyne's 
Castle, proudly facing the Western Ocean, the ancient 
residence of the famed chieftain and warrior, Niall 
Mor ; and about a mile and a half farther in ad- 
vance, on the opposite side of the Point, is the old 
ruined Franciscan Church of Ballysaggart. At the 
extreme end of the Point is observable the light- 
house " 

St. John's Point is inhabited by a very hardy 
race of fishermen, who are seen in all seasons, when 
the weather is favourable, plying their vocation. 
This highly meritorious class, however, of brave and 
stalwart men is fast wasting away, for want of tKe 
protection and encouragement of a fostering Govern- 
ment. The statistics of the decay of the Irish deep 
sea fisheries are, indeed, very saddening. In 1846 
there were employed in our coast fisheries 19,883 
fishing craft, with crews of 113,073 men and boys ; 


in 1870, however, the numbers had decreased to 899 
boats, and 36,629 men and boys. We have per- 
ceived, also, that whilst the Scotch fishermen have 
been in receipt of enormous sums for years, the 
Irish Members were lately refused the miserable pit- 
tance often thousand pounds, as a loariy for the en- 
couragement of the Irish fisheries. From returns 
that have been made, we also find that since i860 a 
million and a quarter of money has been given to 
Scotland for its fisheries in excess of that given to 
Ireland, Moreover, the Scotch Fishery Board was 
retained, with a grant of£i 5000 a year, whilst the Irish 
Board was discontinued, and the grant withdrawn. 

The want of fishery piers is very much expe- 
rienced by the fishermen of the Point, and especially 
at Ballysaggart, where they are frequently prevented 
from putting to sea when the bay is full of fish, on 
account of the difficulty they meet with in launching 
and shoring their boats. They also require aid in 
providing the proper description of boats, and nets, 
and fishing gear. They also may justly complain of 
restrictions when fishing for salmon, by which they 
are not allowed the privilege of a head mooring 
when fishing at what is called '*half tram ;" on which 
account they are obliged to keep constantly tugging 
at the oar to keep the net from drifting, which entails 
an intolerable amount of unnecessary labour. I am 
glad, however, to perceive that Mr. Heron has intro- 
duced a clause in his amended Fishery Bill to remove 
these restrictions, to which they were never subject 


till recent legislation. I have, therefore, reason to 
hope that brighter days are in store for our fishing 
population ; that the tide of emigration will be stayed 
in their behalf ; and that they will be restored their 
ancient privileges of the high seas, by being allowed, 
without the intervention of restrictive laws, to take 
all the fish which are sent by a benign Providence in 
such large shoals to their doors. 




' A. 



This book is under no cirevnMtnneos to b« 
token from the BniMing 

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